Making the big “D”

Meetings are for making decisions. Period.

If you’re using them just to exchange information and updates, set up a listserv. Worse yet, if you’re using them to punish the whole class instead of the one individual who needs direction, you’re wasting the time of many and you’re not likely to get the results you want.

I recall a meeting when the train was clearly off the track. We had a decision to make but consensus wasn’t likely. We heard from everyone and had an understanding of both sides of the issue. It was one of those cases where you could just as easily go one way as the other.

Then, it happened. My boss at the time banged his fist on the conference table (I do not exaggerate) and said,

All right. I’m going to make the big D. Here’s what we’re going to do.

First, I liked this line because it brought relief. At some level, I had stopped caring about which choice we should make. Just making a decision would bring progress so I was relieved we’d move forward.

This line is still a stand out for me because the management team I was on at the time continued to use the phrase “somebody’s gotta make the big D” as the way to get going when we weren’t getting anywhere. When we all knew it was time for a decision, we said it.

Folks, sometimes you can’t wait for consensus. If everyone’s been heard and all the info needed to make the decision is known, the leader should bang the table and make the big D.

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Author: susantevans

Susan T. Evans is director of corporate and foundations relations at the College of William & Mary. She is a proven strategic leader with deep expertise in advancement, communications, brand management, marketing, digital strategy, technology, administration and organizational development. She is known for creative and strategic approaches to challenges within higher education, nonprofits and business.

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