2. Solicit input and clearly communicate who has a view, a voice, a vote, or a veto. You don’t make decisions in a vacuum. But you can run into trouble when you solicit input from others without being clear with them on their role in making the decision.

As Eric said to me, “When you’re making decisions that affect the group, it is important to be really clear on whether each member of that group has a view, a voice, a vote, or a veto. Unless you clarify the view, the voice, the vote, or the veto, people always assume that they get a veto.”

Getting input is critical and the key is to preface your ask by making it clear to your input givers which of the four roles their input will play in the final decision, so you don’t needlessly upset them if your decision differs from their input.

3. Use the morals, ethics, role responsibilities triangle framework as a lens to ensure you engage in deep consideration of how to make the decision and how it affects others. Difficult decisions are difficult because much of them are based on subjective information, not objective. Plenty of decision-making frameworks exist to improve your decision-making using objective information. Eric’s triangle framework comes into play when we enter the murky world of subjective, emotion-laden information where there’s no single “right” decision to be discovered.

Once you’ve clarified the decision you must make and solicited input from the appropriate people, you can use Eric’s triangle framework to pull everything together and make the best decision possible.

As Eric wrote in Harvard Business Review:
“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.”

Think of these three dimensions as points on a triangle. When faced with a difficult decision, consider your possible decisions, and run each one through the three dimensions. For example, ask yourself:
1. What does our ethical environment suggest is an appropriate decision?

2. What does my personal moral code suggest is an appropriate decision?

3. What does my role as the (CEO) suggest I decide to best meet the needs of my diverse stakeholders?

On the thorniest decisions, you’ll find two of these dimensions are in conflict. In that case, look to the third dimension to perhaps act as a tiebreaker.

What I like about this practical framework is how it forces us to “look inward, look outward, and look around” in our decision-making ecosystem.