When it comes to making decisions and solving problems in a nonprofit organization, it can sometimes seem as if the best action is NO action. Many workers, bosses, board members and volunteers prefer to take a “wait and see” attitude when faced with problems and challenges. The truth is, however, that strong leadership and effective problem-solving often require that we make quick decisions. It is often best to take action sooner than to wait until problems become compounded or morph into something different.
A good leader in the nonprofit world is often someone who can make decisions and solve problems quickly. When someone takes a long time to figure out what to do, it can actually make the problems or challenges worse. For example, decisions that need to go through a board or committee process can take longer to process than is useful. Often the work we do in nonprofit organizations and agencies is timely and demands response. The ability to think quickly and act quickly are valued in almost any nonprofit environment.
Of course, this does not mean jumping to conclusions or making snap decisions without gathering information. It is still important to get as much information as possible and survey the situation before making a choice or decision. This process should be done as quickly as possible, however. When a group of people are involved in problem solving or taking action on specific issues, it is important to contribute to the process instead of weighing down the decision-making with contradictions or roadblocks. Instead of getting bogged down in the details, it is key that the participants keep their eyes on the goal (a solution) and stay focused on taking quick action.
Gather information, survey the situation, weigh options and take action. Sitting on problems or situations will generally make them worse.