Running a successful business today involves challenges on many levels, but none are as important as the ability to make a decision. An indecisive business leader who is unable to make decisions dooms his/her company’s ability to operate and grow as everything from marketing campaigns and hiring decisions stagnate. Learning to make decisions effectively and decisively, however, can be the deciding factor in ultimately propelling a company into a new level of growth and prosperity. Otherwise, indecisiveness potentially can cost you your business.
There are many reasons why leaders are indecisive about their business. Difficult decisions press upon the CEOs, presidents and business owners daily. These decisions bring along with them a host of potentially devastating consequences including everything from lost customers and profits to staff reductions and office closings. In fact, frequently heads of companies become so caught up in the anxiety of making the right decision they fail to decide at all, endlessly weighing the same options over and over again. These business leaders are so afraid of making the wrong decision they mistakenly take comfort in the safety of not making a decision at all. Instead, they continue to look for any new information in an futile attempt to put off the inevitable. That’s what indecisiveness does.
In other instances, CEOs, presidents and business owners who consider themselves decision makers grant other people in the organization the power to make the decisions, only giving the appearance that they are actually in control. Others silently hope that something will happen that ultimately makes the decision for them. Doing so takes the process of making the decision itself out of their control. For these decision makers the fear of being considered a bad leader who made a wrong decision is so paralyzing they find it easier to simply not make a decision at all. This example of indecisiveness, unfortunately, happens every day in business. Ultimately, it creates tremendous stress.
The truth, however, is that not making a decision is a conscious choice to give up control of the situation and leave events to chance. Not making a decision is making a decision, but is surely the worst of all the possible choices. Not making a decision translates into a lost opportunity to change things for the better as you enter into a new phase of your company’s growth and success.
Effective decision making is a critical component of any leader’s everyday responsibilities essential for a smoothly operating company. It begins with, for example:
- who should have keys to open up the building in the morning and close the office at night
- where supplies are purchased
- who’s in charge of hiring, promoting, and terminating employees
- knowing what location to select for a customer or client meeting
- which cleaning service to use
- what the new marketing campaign will look like
- remembering your assistant’s birthday, to name a few.
Sometimes indecisiveness can become so extreme it’s challenging to make a decision about what to eat for lunch.
CEOs, presidents and business owners are in the midst of a constant flow of conscious and sub-conscious decision making opportunities. To be a successful leader you must learn to make decisions effectively. In some instances the result of the decision is immediate; in other instances the lasting effects may take years to observe as they infiltrate throughout the company.
But whether the results of a decision are immediate or long term, being a decisive, rather than an indecisive, leader is one of the important abilities necessary to a company’s long term growth and success. While everyone understands decisions must be made, how you approach making decisions, small or large, can be the difference between a company that stagnates under a cloud of inactivity and one that blossoms with success.
To reap the benefits of effective decision making within your organization:
- Begin by acknowledging a decision needs to be made
- Then start collecting all the facts you can find
- Invest time to educate yourself
- Read as much as you can
- Ask questions. Keep asking questions till satisfied with answers.
- Observe. This can open your mind to the answers necessary.
- Listen. So important in any decision.
- Weigh the facts. Try to keep emotion out of it.
- Consider how each possible decision will impact anything and everything from a person and a division or department to you and your company, overall.
- The best approach is to carefully gather information
- Weigh all the alternatives rather than making hasty decisions with potentially devastating consequences.
- Finally, Overcome the fear of indecisiveness.
- Be decisive
- Get it done.
- Act upon it.
- Analyze the business results.
Once you’ve made the decision you will enjoy a sense of accomplishment. Seeing the results bear fruit will be even more rewarding.
Being decisive also means being able to recognize when your decision is not unfolding as expected, not delivering the anticipated results, or is simply going the wrong way. The decision may be causing failure, a breakdown in the company’s organizational system, weakening the company image or costing the company money.
Again, get your facts lined up. Then make a decision rather than invite disaster. It’s much better to pull the plug early and cut your losses up front rather than have a ‘wait and see’ attitude that things may turn around as the potential consequences become more and more devastating. That’s simply indecisiveness on your part.
Sometimes the hardest aspect of making a decision is that you are forced to choose between an outcome that is best for the business and one you would prefer to make personally from an emotional base. For example:
- Shutting down or reorganizing a division or department of the company might make good business sense but will be devastating to the workers affected.
- Not doing business with a customer because it isn’t profitable.
- Discontinuing a long time staple of your product or service line because client demand has changed even though there are the faithful who still support it.
In these business situations, indecisiveness caused by the fear of facing the decision is often what must be addressed first. Once the facts have been lined up and fully assessed, make your decision, stick with it, move on and look to the future.
No one will argue that making decisions is anything less than difficult and stressful, but learning to make them is a necessary component of running a business and moving the company forward. Instead of focusing on the fear, think instead of the process as the chance to move your company through a doorway of opportunity and into a new era where your business is poised to take advantage of new experiences and previously untapped channels for prosperous growth.
Remember: business decisions are about choice.
Don’t allow indecisiveness to cost you your business!
It’s about choosing to run your business and witness your wildest dreams come true. Or leaving your dreams of success to chance, indecisiveness and suffering the consequences as your business runs you.
- Be decisive
- Take control
- Make the necessary hard decisions
Doing so as the CEO, president or business owner, will translate into the success you imagined way back when you started your company on its path to growth, success and profit.
To your success!
Business expert and strategist, Howard Lewinter, guides – focuses – advises CEOs, presidents and business owners throughout the United States across a wide variety of industries, to MORE success – MORE profit – less stress. Business people trust Howard’s vast business knowledge, intuitive insight and objective perspective to solve business problems and issues. Get MORE from your business. Talk business with Howard: 888-738-1855.
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