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Remember, there can often be more than one right answer to a problem.

The option you choose can say a lot about the values of your company, and your leadership.

Making these “right vs. right” choices can be one of the hardest tasks any manager can perform.

Techniques for tackling tough decisions

When confronted with really tough decisions Joseph Badaracco, the John Shad Professor of Business Ethics at Harvard Business School, says there are some simple methods you can apply.  

Following his advice may not make the decisions any easier, but it should at least help you understand, and explain, why you make the choices you do.

Badaracco has his own list of “four” pivotal questions you should ask yourself when addressing such a problem? Asking and honestly answering these will help you cut to the fundamentals he says. The questions are:

  1. What are the consequences of different ways of dealing with the problem for everybody who’s going to be affected by it?
  1. Which individuals and which groups involved in the situation have rights that you’ve really got to respect?

People may have a right to be told the truth. Shareholders have a right to good returns, and so forth. Everybody’s got an obligation to obey the law, and people have a right to expect corporate officers to do so.

  • What messages do I want to send about my values as a leader, and about the values of your organization?
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