Achieving a state of clarity is a necessary but not sufficient condition for making good decisions.
To make good decisions, says the author, a manager must first learn how to reach the “clarity state,” which is characterized by mental and physical focus. Drawing on lessons from neuroscience and sports psychology, the author describes how this state is reached and why it leads to managerial effectiveness.
Interestingly, much of today’s conventional wisdom about what constitutes effective management — especially the deification of multitasking — mitigates against achieving clarity. The author offers a solution, describing four elemental qualities of leadership that lead to clear decision making: (1) Authenticity. Authentic decisions are not based on consequences, but instead spring from three things managers can control: the quality of the process, the quality of the data and the level of internal alignment. (2) Responsibility. Managers often hide behind the need for consensus, but good decisions can arise only from debate and the willingness to accept the responsibility for a decision. (3) Vision. A manager must have vision — the product of intuition and imagination — in order to know what questions to ask and which deductions to trust. (4) Courage. A leader must have the courage to consider all options regardless of the perceived risk and, once a decision is made, courage is required to carry out that decision.