Decisions, Decisions, Decisions….

5 things to consider when making difficult business decisions

Undoubtedly, one of the hardest aspects of being a leader in business can be the responsibility that comes with it.    Maybe you run your own business or perhaps someone has instilled their confidence in you to manage their organization. Either way at times you might feel like you are in a pressure cooker. You are accountable to set a precedent, to create solutions and to guide your team in achieving success.

Ultimately, your decisions have the potential to affect many aspects of the business including the bottom line.

Here are some strategies that you might consider when faced with making a difficult business decision.

Block off time to make important decisions

You have heard me say this before, block off time in your calendar.  This negates distraction and ensures that you are giving the decision your full attention.

Great leaders like Bill Gates for example, have said “Don’t make the same decision twice.  Spend time and thought to make a solid decision the first time so that you don’t revisit the issue unnecessarily.”  Consider this, your time is precious. In fact, a valuable commodity.  Therefore, allowing yourself to take the time necessary to make the decision without haste is not only important, it is crucial.

Clear your mind

Once you have blocked off time in your calendar, clear your mind.  Everyone has their own method of doing this.  Consider meditation, exercise, walking in nature, a drive with the music cranked; whatever puts you in your happy place, do it.  A clear mind refreshes your perspective and frees you from unconscious biases.   Erika Oppenheimer who coaches students around the world how to achieve top scores on university admissions tests suggests that “having a clear mind and a clear space allows you to think and act with purpose.”  It makes sense that when you are not burdened by outside stressors that you are able to act more decisively.

Make value-based decisions

Think about the basic principles of management that include your vision, mission, and value statements.  These statements should help drive your intention providing the direction for everything that happens in your organization including goal setting and decision making.  Consider how the outcome of the decision you are trying to make aligns with the core values of your business.  Ask yourself if the desired outcome supports your vision, mission, and values; if the answer is yes, it is likely a good decision.

Solicit advice

Speak to a peer, a member of a business group you attend or consider consulting a business coach.  An unbiased outside opinion can be just what is required to provide clarity.

Alternatively, utilize the assistance of your team.  Consider how the decision will affect them and include them in the process. Empower them, they may have a perspective that you have not considered.  Strong teams collaborate knowing that decisions that support the core values of the company benefit everyone.

I read a quote by Luke Bryan about seeking advice that genuinely resonated with me.  He said: “Just really really believe in what you’re trying to do.  Do not let people alter that.  Let people advise you and lead you down paths to make smart business decisions.  But trust your instinct and trust that overwhelming drive that made you put all your dreams and everything on the line.”  I could not agree more.

Make your decision and commit to it

Once you have made your decision, it is important to commit to it trusting your instinct and the process.  In a short time, evaluate your decision.  If the outcome was not what you had expected learn from it and grow.  Consider that every challenging decision deserves your time, a clear mind, sound advice and is made based on core values.

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.  He does not set out to be a leader but becomes one by the quality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” – Douglas MacArthur

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