A Framework for Leaders Facing Difficult Decisions  

12 April 2021:

Many decision-making frameworks aim to help leaders use objective information to mitigate bias, operate under time pressure, or leverage data. But these frameworks tend to fall short when it comes to decisions based on subjective information sources that suggest conflicting courses of action. And most complex decisions fall into this category.

Specifically, every complex leadership decision must balance three subjective dimensions:

  1. Ethics, or context-specific principles around what is acceptable in your organization or society.
  2. Morals, or your own internal sense of what is right and wrong, shaped by upbringing, family, community, identity, faith, etc.
  3. Role responsibilities, or your understanding of the responsibilities associated with your role in the organization.

Unsurprisingly, these considerations often come into conflict. When this happens, there are no easy answers — but by carefully interrogating these three dimensions, leaders can move forward with confidence that the decisions they make reflect the best possible balance among their different principles.

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Source: Harvard Business Review

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