Smart decision making is a whole area of challenge for many people and many business owners. Will I or Won’t I are so strong that we often simply decide to put that decision on hold, in other words, make no decision. Below I’ll go through some processes around good decision making and the following through once a decision has been made.
Process of making a smart decision
What is the purpose of this decision?
Before first making a decision, first decide on why you are needing to make a decision. What is the goal or objective of the decision? Perhaps you are considering a change to your logo? Why? Is the change an initial implementation because you don’t have one? If it’s a change, why? Change for change sake is not always wise, but change because there is room for improvement is wise.
Wrong or Right?
The biggest challenge we have is will the decision be the right one. We are often very fearful of making the wrong decision. Fear often causes paralysis and we make no decision. This is often worse because we’ve removed the opportunity to make the right decision. Making the right or wrong decision has a 50/50 chance. Making no decision means the chance for a right decision is now 100% gone.
How much time does a decision need?
This is an excellent question and one which has no answer. How long is a piece of string? Deciding to have cereal or eggs for breakfast should be a 3-second decision. However, deciding on the right business to purchase could take several weeks. You will want to investigate the business, closely study the information furnished, have your accountant analyse the figures, request additional reports such as BASes and tax returns and more. Additionally, some people think well on their feet and can make quick mental calculations, others need time to sit down and review the figures and run the numbers on paper. I for one will rarely make a larger decision on the spot. Even if I’ve come to my decision in my own mind, I will ‘sleep on it’ and advise my decision the next day.
What are the consequences?
Most of us consider the consequence of making the decision. If I invest this money in marketing, or a business coach, or a new concept and it doesn’t work, then we’ve lost that money. But few people consider the consequence of not taking action. Let’s look at the example of the marketing concept which potentially could snag you many great clients. Perhaps assume a client has a life value of $20,000 each. Say you were to gain just 5 clients from that marketing; then the potential is $100,000. Some say it’s a gamble, but really, it’s a calculated risk – which I’m going to discuss next.
Every decision-making process should have a process – being that you assess what the calculated risk is. Essentially I suggest to my business coaching clients to either do a Pros & Cons List OR to do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis on a decision. What’s good about a certain decision, direction or plan or attack? If you select that marketing activity, what can go right, and what can go wrong? How can you mitigate any losses? Are you expected to sign up for 12 months, or can trial with a test and measure concept? Are there testimonials or statistics to support the concept?
Do your due diligence
Just as you calculate the risk and assess the pros and cons of the decision, so you should also due your due diligence. Do research on the concept. Investigate a supplier. Have others had a good experience? Every different type of decision has its own due diligence steps. If you were buying a property you would do property searches. If you are selecting a supplier, you might Google their reviews. When it comes to selecting a different product in your production, you may run tests or trials. If you’re considering a coach (like myself) you may have an initial consultation or sample coaching session with them (I do that locally/online for no charge). If you were considering leasing commercial premises you might talk to the other tenants and see what the landlord is like and if they experience any challenges around the location.
Then take action!
My friend Tony Robbins makes a very good point:
Remember, a real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided. ~Tony Robbins (https://www.tonyrobbins.com/)
When you ‘decide’ but then do nothing, really what have you done? A decision almost always needs to go hand in hand with action. You may have an exceedingly painful employee who is always late for work, is rude to customers and spends half the day on personal calls or Facebook. You decide: “They must go!” but weeks/months later, they are still there, nothing has been done and you’re now not only cranky with them, but with yourself for not doing anything about it.
Once you have made a decision you need to allow time, energy, support and resources to implement that decision. The implementation process is almost (if not more important) than the decision-making process. Sometimes when something is implemented poorly, it is deemed as a bad decision, but rather, it may have been a good decision, just without good implementation. Over decades of helping Aussie business owners grow their businesses, I’ve heard the stories “Oh I tried that and it doesn’t work!” In some instances, I know immediately why it would not have worked, but other times I think “that should have worked”. When I ask more questions, I discover the flaw wasn’t in the decision but in the implementation of the decision.
Consistency & time
With any decision, you need to remain consistent. This may be consistency around how you do business, or your branding or your marketing. You need a decision time to be actioned and time to work. Marketing for example (and especially SEO) can take several months to take effect. You have to allow enough time for a change, decision or action to take hold and begin working.
So the next time you are making a decision (more than what you’ll have for breakfast) remember to give the decision fair time. Be sure to consider the pros and cons, consequences and once you’ve made a decision then implement well so that there is real action behind the decision. If I can assist you in any aspect of your business with my business coaching services, please reach out to me on 0411 622 666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Make a spectacular day!