So there I was.
Suspended between writing a blog post and completing the documents for my Top Level Speakers Program.
I was procrastinating but sometimes I hate when I have to make decisions.
Then the phone rang.
On the phone was my fave business colleague and friend, inviting me to “a quick power lunch.” In a flash I made my decision. Lunch it was!
I know there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
If you do too, you can understand my complete lack of surprise when no sooner had I ordered cream of pumpkin soup, grilled marlin with pan seared vegetables and a garden salad, he dropped his little confession:
“If you don’t mind, Lorns, I invited you here to ask you: what is your secret for making decisions?” how do you do it?
I allowed my expression to remain blank as I waited for him to explain some more.
"I mean...look at the way you just decide on things and implement them in your business and in your life...me I have to go all the way around the world and back and still can't seem to make the decision..."
So...I invited you to lunch to ask you if you can give me some tips...even a few...on the smartest way to make decisions...especially for my business...
No problem, after all lunch was on him.
But I have to ask you...
Are you like my friend?
Do you hate making decisions...especially those that impact the people in your business?
Does it help to know that there are so many other people just like you?
But I know it will help even more, if I were to give you my simple 7-step decision making process, which you can follow to make smart business decisions that last...
So here it is...
1. Recognise that decision-making is a skill
If you do, you will realise that like all skills, you can learn how to do it and get better at it with practice.
Failing to make decisions when you have to, is like not turning up for practice and expecting to win a tournament. Both you and your business will suffer if this is the approach you bring to decision-making.
2. Understand why you need or want to make the decision
Let's say you need to buy a new vehicle and you have a problem making up your mind which one to buy.
The problem is, one of your best friend just bought the latest fancy sports car and you're green with envy. So you decided to stretch your resources and buy a new car, very similar to the one your friend has.
As ridiculous as it may seem, accept that you bought that particular vehicle because you were envious of your friend.
In these circumstances, if you fool yourself that your motive for buying that vehicle was because your business needs a new vehicle, you might end up buying a Lamborghini to deliver vegetables.
3. Don't rely on intuition alone when you make decisions
Intuition, especially feminine intuition, can certainly inform the way you make decisions. But you must combine this with your business experience so that you make decisions that are right for your business.
Let’s face it. Our intuitions are sometimes wrapped up in our emotions. And if we are not in a good place emotionally our intuitions can be equally off.
For example, let's say you want to borrow money from a bank. But instead of following the instructions the Loans Officer gave you to complete the documents, you decide to ignore them.
On the day of your appointment, you walk into the bank and with all the confidence in the world, you informed the Loans Officer that your intuition tells you that you will get the loan.
How do you think that will work out for you?
4. Consider the consequences of decisions you make
You will be wasting your time if you try to convince me that you’re past 25 years of age, you have started a business and you're successfully making decisions and carrying them out, with no thought of the consequences.
If you think that you can make decisions in and for your business without first considering all the angles, trust me, you will not remain in business for very long.
Thinking of the consequences of my decisions is a big part of how I make decisions.
5. Ignore decision making trees
And any other structured decision-making processes. They are not quite right for your small business.
I can say this because I had to study them to pass many business courses and I would be the first to admit, they work well in organisational life.
However, when I went “live” in my small businesses, it was common sense and business experience which provided me with the best decisions.
As we like to say in our house: as decision making goes in small businesses, decisions don’t grow on trees.
6. Deciding not to decide is ever so much BF
Deciding not to decide should have no part in any decision-making process.
As an approach or a step, this is ever so much Bovine Feces! (BF)
In the face of uncertainty you can delay your decision (not forever!) but deciding not to decide is outright procrastination. Furthermore it can be as habit-forming as making decisions.
7. Make the Decision
To me, decision-making is a linear process it is not a loop.
When you have a decision to make, don't keep going around in circles like a dog trying to catch his tail. This will leave you trying to catch YOUR tail when your behaviour places your business in trouble.
A worked example...
When you adopt and practice the 7 steps above, making decisions will become easier and faster and you will make smarter decisions.
I use them all the time.
For example, when my friend invited me to lunch, it might appear that I made that decision quickly. But here is how it went down:
My intuition told me he wanted something but because I know it’s hard to access his time, my motivation was not the food. (Steps 3,2)
I could not decide "not to decide" because I wanted to access his high-end clients, even though I know as a consequence, I would have to “burn the midnight oil” later. (Steps 6,4)
So very quickly, because I have lots of practice, I easily made the smart decision to have lunch with my friend. And I did not even use a decision tree! (Steps 7,1,5)
Are you ready to make decisions now?
When you started reading this post you were unhappy with the way you make decisions.
Then you discovered that I have given you a simple process which would take you to your decision faster and that decision would be sound.
Would it change your decision? Not every time but you would have the security of knowing that it is the right one, more times out of ten.
Let me remind you, simple as they may seem, these steps work, especially if you are inclined to procrastinate when you have to make decisions.
Take them and make them work for you. You business will grow and you will make a big impact!
To your decision-making success...