“Decision making is an essential leadership skill. If you can learn how to make timely, well-considered decisions, then you can lead your team to well-deserved success,” according to MindTools.com, “If, however, you make poor decisions, your time as a leader will be brutally short.”
Learning to make good decisions in business doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes it is difficult to consider the vastness of both big and small decisions made about our companies. So to aid you in improving your leadership skills and bottom-line here are twelve recommendations from entrepreneurs on how to improve your decision making skills in business.
1. Focus on the big picture.
“My decision-making process begins with a) will it strengthen my brand; b) how soon could it positively impact sales or PR; and c) if it’s something that involves my time, will it stretch me or snap me? If it simply takes ‘time’ but doesn’t stretch me, I’ll outsource it or give it to my assistant. Focus on the big picture. If I’m spinning my wheels, I’ll try a new path.”
2. Verbalize your ideas.
“Verbalize your ideas to employees, mentors, friends, and family early and often, and do it well before taking action. Saying it aloud will do three things: [First, it will] let you practice your pitch: If you can’t sell the idea to your friends how could you ever sell it to the public. [Secondly,] improve upon the core concept: Sometimes your thoughts seem perfect in your head, but when you have to tell it to someone else … that’s when you figure out what you overlooked in your previous thought. [And lastly, receive] quick feedback: Read your friends’ reactions. If you have to over-sell it, then it needs to be [better] thought through.”
3. Be open and honest.
“Be open and honest with yourself, your business partners, employees, and clients. Keeping these values a priority does two important things: makes decision-making easier (removes all dishonest decisions), and keeps customers around. Customers are smart and will pick up on dishonesty and false promises.”
4. Always assume you know less than you do.
“I always assume I know less than I really do. That frame of mind has me in constant pursuit of feedback from mentors, so I created an Advisory Board to help me tackle the tough issues regarding growth, staffing, finance, vendor selection, etc. I have ten colleagues, each of them successful and carrying more experience in marketing than myself. The result has been outstanding, and it has truly fast-tracked the growth of my firm.”
5. Call on a mentor.
“Every business owner needs a cadre of mentors to call on, and especially those who have experienced growth and learned how to manage it well. These relationships have helped us stay calm and focused as our company has grown and changed. There’s nothing more comforting than sitting across the table from someone who can say, ‘Don’t worry, I remember when I was there,’ and who can also tell a useful, sometimes funny, story about muddling through the same situation and making it out alive.”
6. Be clear on “why”.
“If you are very clear on ‘why,’ it is easy to evaluate if the decision you are considering is in alignment with your ‘why.’ Many small businesses try to be everything to every customer because they are afraid of turning business away. This leads them to make decisions that are not good business or, worse yet, leaves them unable to make a decision because they lack a frame of reference to evaluate each decision with. If business owners have a solid understanding of why they do what they do, it is much easier to make sound business decisions.”