This series of articles is for the leaders in the trenches … the line and middle managers that are responsible, sometimes unknowingly, for half the market cap of a corporation.  One error, incident, or security compromise can negatively impact a company overnight.

In this series, we’ve addressed why senior leaders may miss the importance of local strategic decision-making, how to understand the drivers for making a strategic decision locally, and how to recognize the strategic implications of local decisions.  In this article, we look at what committing to the fix really means.

Commit to the Fix

“Never underestimate the power of personal integrity.” – Sophocles

Once in a while, every manager is faced with a critical decision … do I fight for what I believe is truly right, or do I let it go, knowing the risks are great.  Often decisions deal solely with money.  However, in some jobs decisions may deal with life or death, safety, or even company reputation.

Managers who have a strong moral compass, understand the pressures and drivers impacting local decisions, recognize the strategic implications of a line decision on corporate interests. Because of this, they may find themselves challenging their boss, their boss’s boss, or even higher to protect company interests.

Not all decisions result in walking away … not all decisions are ultimately supported by senior managers.  However, during these times when we are willing to fall on our swords, we must simply be true to ourselves.

This sounds so altruistic, but in reality, one can be risking their career.  A healthy company will encourage workers to stop work if conditions are not safe or doubtful.   A healthy company will invest in systems and behavior modification to ensure a secure digital environment.  A healthy company will celebrate and reward behavior in the trenches that protect company interests.  But, what if your company is not healthy?

How do you go about committing to a fix that allows you to stand by an unpopular decision?  First, resolve to make the strongest business case for alternative action.  Remember the drivers for strategic decisions are those that are in the best interests of the company.  A second level of action may be to get a second opinion before escalating the decision.  If another respected person agrees with the decision, then it may be worth escalating to higher-level managers.  Assuming you are committed in your decision and have escalated it to no avail, then you have one remaining option – to refuse to participate, which may potentially be career limiting.

No one can tell you what decision to make.  Every decision by a line manager or worker is their own personal decision.  And very few are black and white.  Some of these will be strategic and some will require you to draw on your own sense of personal integrity. The implications of challenging authority or accepting the risk of incident or failure weigh heavily.

Decision making is complicated whether or not you have the word “leader” in your title. We help companies create environments for good decision making. Get in touch if your organization could use our assistance.

This blog post is part of a series of installments on making strategic decisions locally:

  1. Part 1: Why Senior Leaders May Miss the Importance of Local Strategic Decision-Making
  2. Part 2: Understand the Drivers
  3. Part 3: Recognize Strategic Implications
  4. Part 4: Commit to the Fix