Rick Meekins is the Managing Partner at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy, an Atlanta, GA based small business consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations.
The Only Truths for Decision Making
What every entrepreneur needs to know about their decision-making process
When speaking to entrepreneurs and people in general, for that matter, I find that they have many ways of sorting out how to make decisions. As a matter of fact, in a recent episode of Aepiphanni | Off the Cuff, Ingrid and I talked about that very topic and the different ways that we approach decision-making.
In the article, “10 Insightful Examples of Good Business Decision Making,” author Barry D Moore asks 10 entrepreneurs how they handled difficult situations in their businesses, many of which resonated with me, such as how to build a team, whether or not to get rid of a certain client or where to locate the business. While the Q&A was certainly interesting, both the process the author used and the differences in approaches each respondent used are worthy of considering.
As you read the article, note the author’s approach:
1.What was the challenge? Defining clearly what the challenge really is can often be more complex than you might realize.
If you consider the first question: “How to build a team to deliver business results across the globe” – consider how many steps came before that in order to arrive at that question. So when determining the challenge, make sure that you fully understand “why” the challenge exists and even the value of that challenge.
If the respondent wanted to build a multi-national team for the sake of ego, that might not be a good business decision. If it is to benefit from the different perspectives of a multi-national workforce and have local presence for business expansion, that would be a business decision.
2. How did you make the decision? One of the respondents described the approach to making the decision as really dependent on its importance. Nevertheless, there is an approach that each person took to arrive at their decision, though there wasn’t a single set of steps that every person used. Why is that? People have different personalities, strengths and weaknesses. Applying a single approach to every individual is like assuming that everyone on a sports team can play every position equally well.
It is critical as a business leader that you determine what works for you. Try it. Evaluate it. See what worked and what didn’t. Revise as necessary. Having a process by which to make decisions will make your decision-making efforts much more efficient.
3. What was the outcome of the decision? Don’t be tempted to base the outcome of the decision solely on your decision-making process. But do evaluate the outcome of the decision. Evaluation goes back to the question of “why?” as in: why did you get the results that you got. Was it 20% inspiration and 80% perspiration? Was it dumb luck? Was it the right move at the right time?
In addition to confirming or improving your decision-making process, the other thing you will gain in the process is new knowledge of what is possible. As you read responses from the respondents, you can see a pattern of Aepiphanni’s (plug!) that they experience as a result of their decision-making.
I would encourage you: take a look at the level of decisions these business owners faced and be both encouraged and inspired. These were business altering decisions that had they shied away from, would have made them very different businesses than they are today. Now think about decisions that you have to make with your own company which you may have been putting off – and make a decision.
If you are honest, as an entrepreneur, you know that many times when you go to make decisions, you may only have 80% of the information you need to go forward with that decision. If you think about it: often that additional 20% of information provides such little benefit to the process that the effort isn’t worth the wait. If you wait to get all of the information – 100% – you risk missing out on moving forward altogether.
So know and be comfortable with the idea that there is likely a bit of luck in every decision you make to move forward. As they say – or maybe it’s just me: “Growth cannot occur without change, and change cannot occur without discomfort.”
What is your decision-making process? How much information do you need to have in order to make a decision with which you are comfortable? Do you take the time to really evaluate the outcome of your decisions? Have you taken the opportunity to learn and grow from them, regardless of how they turned out?
As my buddy, Greg, would say, “Them’s pearls of wisdom getting dropped in there!”
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