You’re a leader, and a lot of what you have to do all day long is make decisions. Should we go after this market? How should I modify our expense policy? Should I take this meeting? When is it time for me to hire someone for that position?
The “reactive” decisions are often easier to make than the “proactive” ones. (Reactive decisions are topics that come to you and you have to decide A, B, (or sometimes C). As long as you know yourself, your business, and your values, these can be relatively easy. The “proactive” decisions are more strategic in nature. You are deciding on a new market, a new hire, a new product, or a new strategy. They require more research and thought precisely because they are new in nature, and they inherently carry more risk.) Both types have similarities.
5 Reasons You Don’t Make Decisions
- We have reasons we avoid them. What if you don’t decide right now? You could put it off. Maybe you feel you don’t have enough information to make the best decision for the long term. It will take time to research and discuss with others – time you just don’t have right now because you’re busy, right? Announcing your decision might be painful or unpopular. What if you make the wrong decision?
- We have to do our research. How did this situation come about? Who’s involved, and what are the personal or social dynamics? How will this affect your customers, employees, or suppliers? Do you have an existing policy on this matter, and if so, what is it? Is this decision in line with prior decisions you have made? Will you be setting a precedent?
- We have to think about alternatives. If there are two or three solutions that you can see, are their others you don’t see? Do you want to run this by someone internally, or a friend you trust? Are you seeing all the angles? Might you regret this decision later?
- We must think of who is affected. What if this affects someone’s job? What if someone feels slighted? Are you willing to live by this decision also? What if this changes the way other people in the business perceive or interact with each other, or with you? What if this decision costs your organization money?
- There is a cost for not deciding. The time you’re spending now thinking about this decision, pondering all the questions I’ve just put to you, considering alternatives and such, is time you are not spending on your primary role – to lead and guide your company. The people waiting for you to decide are doing just that – waiting. That project is not moving forward, customers aren’t buying, salespeople are not selling, and things are not operating at an optimal level. You, or someone within your sphere of influence, are stuck.
Do any of these reasons ring a bell? Is it why you haven’t made a decision yet?
You are a leader and you must decide, the sooner the better! If you are certain that you do not have enough information, then at least decide when you will decide. Set a deadline, get your resources together, do your research, and then decide. You’ll never have all the information and you’ll never see all the angles. You might even be wrong!
Deciding is like pulling a stick out of the spokes. The wheel starts turning again. Motion is restored. Things get UNstuck! Sure, maybe you are wrong. The forward motion will let you know soon enough and you can revisit it. But chances are, you’re not. Chances are, if you make decisions consistently based in truth, honesty, in line with your (and your company’s) values, you’re going to be ok. And you’re back in motion.
Decide. It’s going to be ok. Move!