A reporter asks a successful entrepreneur for the secret of his success. After briefly thinking about it, he responds:
“The secret of my success is that I make the correct decisions.”
“OK, but how do you go about making the correct decisions?”
The entrepreneur replies:
The reporter digs in:
“Right, and how do you gather experience?”
The entrepreneur smiles:
“That is actually very straightforward:
by making bad decisions.”
Wait and see is usually the inferior alternative
During the regular workday you frequently do not have access to all important information. You want to avoid making mistakes, but must still make a prompt decision.
When you do not make a decision and wait, this is also a type of decision – but it is usually the more inferior one.
Anyone who waits until only one decision alternative is left has defaulted on his decision making power. The situation or someone else has made the decision for him. He is without power in the true sense of the word, and therefore impotent.
Make a decision now?
Sure, but how should one go about doing this? – Do not wait, but make a decision now, especially when the required decision can be reversed later without incurring large costs or efforts.
You will save time and energy by taking this approach. If you find out later that you were wrong, you can make a straightforward correction. You will be amazed about how many decisions you can make on the spot without having to reverse these later.
Decisions that need time
However, there are decisions that are better made with more consideration. For instance, these include the selection of employees, company locations, enterprise software, and also product and company names. Poor decisions in these areas can be very costly.
But keep in mind: A clear-cut solution does not exist for a multitude of problems. Perfection is an illusion in this case. After a period of waiting and deliberating, you will reach a point at which more information, or even more pros and cons, are of no further help. You must then take a calculated risk. A question that may help in this case is:
“What is the worst possible outcome?”
This may help you get your arms around your fear of making a bad decision.
Bad decisions and future success
You must accept that in your role as an executive you will be required to make decisions, even if you do not have a complete set of facts for lack of information.
You should not be afraid to admit to bad decisions, and to reverse these. By doing so, you are demonstrating your ability to learn. The aforementioned entrepreneur would say:
“Your failures and mistakes are a condition for your future success.”
How do you make your decisions?
This might also be of interest to you:
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- Management strictly by fact and figures?
- How to handle fear in your company!