As a small business owner, you are often faced with decisions that require a clear head and sound judgement. While it’s good to be in tune with your gut instinct, you cannot rely entirely on your gut alone. You need to develop a sound process for making those tough decisions.
So, what are the secrets to great decision making?
Act in Haste, Repent at Leisure
Spend time to think about your decisions. Quick decisions can result in costly errors. Think about the best and worst case scenarios. It doesn’t have to be a full SWOT analysis, but a list of pros and cons on the back of a napkin, can help your brain think about the realities of your decision.
Ask for Advice
Yes, you’re the boss, but it doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help. Whether it’s your employees, a peer in the same field or a friend you trust. Use them as a sounding board, to see if they have been in the same situation and what they would do differently.
Practice Active Listening
The key to good decisions is to have all the facts. And that requires that you listen to the people giving the facts. But active listening can take discipline when you have a lot to do. Silence your phone and turn off your email. It is only by actively listening you will get a clearer picture of what is happening and can make better decisions.
Let Your Brain Rule Your Heart
Hard choices have to be made all the time. But it’s important that you take emotion out of your decision-making process. This is especially true in Human Resource decisions. If someone has been with the company since the beginning, but is not pulling their weight, it’s natural you feel an obligation to that person. But that obligation can cause harm to your business growth.
Count to Ten
If a decision needs to be made instantly, take 10 seconds to breath before you react. No, it won’t be enough to weigh the pros and cons or ask for help. But it will allow you to calm down a little and use your brain or your gut to make a rational decision.
Go Back to Your Business Plan
You created your business plan, operations plan and marketing plan for a reason – use them. Each of your plans should outline your core values and your vision. Run your decision through these and see if it fits.
Remember your decision doesn’t have to be yes or no. It may well fit well with your business values and vision but you may not have the financing, manpower or capacity to do achieve the goal. So, park it for another time.
Monitor the Outcomes
The more you make decisions, the easier it will be to listen to your gut and know who to turn to for help. Each time you are faced with a big decision in your business, make notes about who you spoke to, where the data came from, etc. Then, next time you face a similar situation you will be able to use this tactic, person or information again.
Commit to Your Decision
The key to great decision making is commitment. If you have taken the time to assess the potential outcomes, asked the opinion of people you value and know that it stands true to your values. Then give yourself a time for review. If you feel you need to restart the evaluation process then, you will have more information to assess the situation.
Making sound decisions can help you achieve the success you want in both in your business and personal life.
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