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I recently gave a seminar on “decision making” at the Summit Regional Workshops. The topic continues to intrigue me. As business owners, we’re confronted with decisions all day long. Some people make them quick (too quick) while others fail to ever make a decision (paralysis by analysis). Below are my principles of decision making:

  1. Start with your vision. Every decision you’re confronted with is easier to make if it is made in the context of your vision … what do you want for your business? Is your vision written down?
  2. Consider your big rocks (vs. the shiny lure) when making a decision. Is it related to an initiative you really want or some new shiny idea to steal your attention?
  3. Measure the decision up against your values. These are the core principles you run your business by. Values come into play whenever a decision involves people or ethical situations.
  4. Know how much you’re prepared to lose. When I ask groups what the biggest barrier is to make a decision, I always get “FEAR”. Calculate the most amount of money you’re prepared to lose and then go with it. Give “fear” a dollar amount.
  5. Stay out of the hallway. Doors open and doors close, the trick is to stay out of the hallway. A hallway is a cold place. The hallway is a non-decision.
  6. Use a consultative approach. Ask your team for their opinion. Let them know that you value their opinion, even if you don’t go with what they suggested.
  7. Consider the “Opportunity Cost” of decisions. You only have so many resources. If you do “A”, you won’t be able to do “B”. It’s about focus. What won’t you be able to do if you do “A”? How much would that cost you?
  8. Use your “Gut”, not your hip. Your hip is an emotional decision. Your gut consists of years of experience resulting in wisdom. Listen to your gut and understand how it differs from your initial emotional reaction.
  9. Write out the pros and cons. It will help you process your “gut” and end the circular conversation you’re having with yourself.
  10. If you have more than 70% of the facts …. It’s too late. You’ve missed the opportunity. Make the best decision you can with the information you have.
  11. Be resilient. You will make bad decisions. Get over it. Don’t beat yourself up. Learn from it.
  12. Understand any biases you may have. Are you being open-minded?
  13. Understand your company’s strengths and weaknesses to implementation. Ideas fail because people fail to understand the steps involved to make them a reality.
  14. Write down the decision statement. What exactly is the decision that needs to be made?

Now go and be free to make decisions!

All the best,

Brian

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