Decision Making

Decide, Already!

In business, you can't afford the luxury of time. You need to make decisions and you need to do it right now. Here's how to get going and decide, already!

Business moves at the speed of light.

Decide Already

Before you can solve one problem, ten other problems land in your inbox. Although it would be nice to be able to exhaustively analyze every issue that demands your attention, comprehensive analysis is a luxury a small business owner can't afford - at least not if you want to stay ahead of the curve.

Unfortunately, business owners sometimes fall into one of two camps. The first type of business owner makes decisions on the spur of the moment, putting little or no thought into the problem. Instead of basing his decisions on rational facts, he bases them on personal feelings or emotions. The second type of business owner is just as deadly. She painstakingly analyzes every decision she needs to make, refusing to take action until the problem has been studied, dissected, and evaluated from every possible angle. Consequently, many important decisions either never get made or are made too late to make a meaningful difference.

Analysis is important. But at some point, analysis needs to end and you need to make a decision. Although the outcomes of your decisions can never be guaranteed, the outcomes of not making decisions are certain: missed opportunities, lost revenue, and negative bottom line impact. As a business owner, you need to learn how to make decisions quickly and with confidence. Here's how it's done . . .

Options are the enemy of good decision-making.

An abundance of options is the enemy of efficient decision-making. When decision makers are faced with an overwhelming supply of possible solutions, their ability to narrow their choices down to a single solution is compromised. So as a business owner, it's important to reduce the number of options you have as quickly as possible.

Strive for simplicity in problem solving.

The business community has a knack for turning simple problems into highly complex dilemmas. Yet small business leaders have a vested interest in simplification and in limiting the number of potential solutions. You can accomplish that by clearly defining the scope of the problem and encouraging your team to maintain focus during the problem solving process. If the process spins out of control, go back to the beginning and establish narrower parameters.

Let core values guide your decisions.

Good leaders base their decisions on a select handful of core values or even a single core value. Your company's decision-making processes should be primarily influenced by the value(s) described in the mission statement. For example, if your primary core value is customer service, then your decisions should be based on outcomes that improve customer satisfaction rather than squeezing the last possible dime out of consumers. Close adherence to core values streamlines decision-making because it reduces your options and brings focus to the process.

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