SOME THINGS ARE really hard to nail down.

One of the biggest examples is how complicated business decisions are made, like taking on a partner or promoting an employee. There’s this amorphous mix of logic, feelings, history, and unique factors you never would have planned for.

When this happens, there’s a good chance you’ve gotten too immersed in the details, and need to go up a level.

As the leader, your role is to help capture the guiding principles which underlie important decisions.

Perhaps you’re trying to decide which of two employees should be elevated to the senior position. Both people have their strengths and weaknesses, and there are emotions on both sides.

Let’s look at the bigger picture and ask some important questions:

  • Do we agree on the core purpose for the senior position, no matter who is occupying it?
  • What are the key attributes of someone who will be successful in this role?
  • If we imagine looking back on this decision a year from now, would we celebrate or regret a particular choice?
  • Which is likely to get us to our business goals the best?
  • What exactly is the purpose behind why we promote people in our organization?

I have questions like this because I’ve been in this exact situation myself, but in this article I can be more emotionally distant from it. The emotions of the moment aren’t controlling my thinking.

That’s an important role that your coach plays, by the way: To help you distance yourself from the distractions and think decisions through more carefully. Even including gut feel, yes.

Which decisions are making you feel like you’re lost in the haze?