Every business leader is a decision-maker.
Even indecisive leaders make decisions – but their decisions are often a choice to leave their companies' issues and problems unresolved. As a growth-minded business owner, you can't afford to make those kinds of decisions. If your company is going to succeed, you'll need to fine-tune your ability to quickly resolve the challenges that confront your business.
Leaders approach problems in a variety of ways. But the best decision-makers take a systematic approach to business problems, enabling them to fall back on proven strategies when the issues become murky or fragmented. For some business owners, this means retooling the way they approach problems. Although it may seem uncomfortable or excessively rigorous at first, by incorporating a few decision-making tips into your routines you can dramatically improve the quality and efficiency of your problem solving efforts.
- Define the problem. One of the reasons decisions spin out of control is because the decision maker(s) failed to adequately define the problem before attempting to identify solutions. Carefully define the parameter of the decision that needs to be made, and (if necessary) segment complex decisions into a series of smaller, more manageable decisions.
- Determine responsibility. Are you the person who is responsible for solving the problem that has landed on your doorstep? Maybe . . . and maybe not. Business owners are frequently asked to make decisions that aren't theirs to make and to solve problems that are beyond the scope of their responsibility. Since you already have enough on your plate, only tackle decisions that legitimately fall under the umbrella of your authority and responsibility.
- Consider multiple perspectives. It's important to approach the problem from multiple angles. Even though you may be the final decision maker, it never hurts to solicit opinions from others before you commit to a course of action. Too many opinions can have negative consequences, but the advice of a few, trusted individuals can bring greater clarity to the issues.
- Evaluate outcomes. As you begin to develop a list of possible solutions, evaluate the consequences on a case-by-case basis. At first glance, a decision may seem like a no-brainer. But a closer look can reveal unintended consequences that can have disastrous effects for you and your business.
- Take decisive action. You can do everything else right, but if your process doesn't lead to decisive action, you've failed as a decision maker. There reaches a point when consideration and evaluation must come to an end. Step up to the plate and take decisive action, sooner rather than later.