Decision Making A Must for Success
By Dr Paul E Adams | October 31, 2004
Men grow making decisions and assuming responsibilities for them. Bill Marriott Sr.
How do your employees see you? Are you the executive or entrepreneur who has a track record of making the wrong decision? Do you have a tough time making up your mind, or are you impulsive? If you are about to cash out the equity in you home and launch a new business or expand your business, the wrong choice can ruin you. Look inward, how do you see your skills?
Are you afraid of making the wrong move? Fear immobilizes. If you are fearful of making a mistake the natural tendency is to put off making a choice -- hiding your fear behind the excuse of analysis or thoughtful leadership. Fear can lead to lost opportunities. And your disguised fear of failure will drive your employees nuts, I am sure you know such people they can be maddening.
Yet, there are times when you should put off any action, as what ever you choose is likely to be the wrong choice. If you are over tired, not feeling well, emotionally upset, or feeling impatient when you are not up to snuff -- you are prone to error, so wait a day or two until you are your normal self. To put the odds in your favor, you need to be healthy and have a clear head; strong emotions will color your decision-making, not good!
Equally disastrous is acting on impulse, falsely thinking that great leaders bark commands, make decisions as the commercials show the busy executive briskly walking with his entourage tossing off major decisions as if he or she were ordering lunch. Screenwriters are super at portraying execs as Captain Marvel. Such impulsive or premature choices are rash and can lead to the wrong choice. Unfortunately, some inexperienced entrepreneurs, so anxious to impress others as leaders, will dash off a decision -- thinking they are courageous.
As a leader you are required to make decisions like it or not. Here is a technique you may find helpful. Do you understand the downside of your decision? What is the worst that can happen if you are wrong? Can you live with it? If not, the gamble may not be worth the risk. Successful stock market traders have a cardinal rule, that they will not risk more than 5 to 10 percent of their capital on any one trade. They know bad trades happen and they know they will make mistakes. They understand that risk management is crucial to their success. So don t be eager to bet your business on a single decision.
A year or so ago I wrote a column on the Ben Franklin system of decision-making. Ben would list the advantages of yes, and advantages of no. His system of risk management works and has been often cited by management instructors. The greater the impact, on your business, your lifestyle, your finances, and your future, the more difficult it is to make a decision. Somehow, you must find a balance between the rewards of risk and the probability of success. Ben Franklin's system does so, by asking you to look at the advantages and disadvantages of your choices. It is a valuable tool to help you make such decisions as opening your own business, expanding your operation, investing in a new product, or taking in a partner.
As you struggle with your choices be careful about soliciting opinions, if you do so, remember those giving you such advice are looking at your situation with their own frame of reference and emotions. And how you present your possible plans will effect what you hear. Getting opinions from family and friends is not the same as getting a secondÂ medical opinion, you don't ask a neighbor if you should have a knee operation. Decisions are part of life, and daily part of being in business. If you hate to choose or live in fear of making a mistake, sharpening your decision skills is just one more hurdle you must over come as you work to become a successful entrepreneur.