“Often any decision, even the wrong decision, is better than no decision.” – Ben Horowitz
One of the greatest assets every top performer inherits is the ability to make decisions. Please note, I didn’t say every great top performer has the ability to make ‘great’ decisions, just the ability to make decisions.
One of the biggest flaws I see among business owners and entrepreneurs is the lack of decision making ability. It’s no secret how decisive and solid decision making skills can impact a company, let alone one’s personal life. There are a few key traits I believe successful people hold, and one of the most important is having the ability to make decisions.
We are going to discuss a few core principles we have found helpful, personally and professionally, in the ability to make decisions. Our goal is to give you direct, actionable experience that will help improve YOUR decision making skills.
START MAKING DECISIONS ON SMALLER THINGS THAT IMPACT YOUR LIFE
All too often we get in our own way and feel every decision we make will impact everything and everyone in our life. That’s simply not the case.
I used to think I had to be great at making BIG decisions. I had to decide what sales strategy would increase my company’s revenue, how to properly scale, what new services we should offer, etc… I was always focused on the big stuff, decisions that moved the needle. This was my first mistake.
We’ve all heard the phrase “you have to learn to walk before you can run.” Well, making decisions is no different. We have to become efficient and comfortable with making smaller decisions. We make decisions all the time which impact us on a much smaller scale, and most times, we don’t even realize we’re making decisions. We just do it.
Start being more decisive and stop wasting time on smaller things that truly don’t matter. For instance, what you’re going to wear tomorrow. Make a decision, don’t second guess it, and go with it.
Many historical figures wore the same wardrobe because they didn’t want to waste time on such minuscule decisions. More recently, big wigs like Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg all wear the same color pallet in clothes to save themselves from spending energy on small decisions that don’t matter to them in the grand scheme of things.
The first way to improve your decision making skills right away is to start becoming more decisive with all the small routine things in your life. Don’t look back. Make a decision and follow through with it. As humans, we always tend to second guess ourselves, this needs to stop. If we want to be great decision makers, this HAS to stop.
Learn to walk before you can run. Start making smaller decisions which inevitably will get you comfortable to make bigger ones. It’s a process, but let’s learn to scale up versus scaling back.
LEARN TO TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
Instincts are a powerful thing. In business, sometimes it’s the only thing you need to be successful. Yet, many of us don’t trust our instincts, which is a huge detriment to our decision making ability.
When we learn to trust our instincts, we’re learning to be more comfortable with following our natural sense of what’s going on around us. Many times, decision making is nothing more than being instinctual.
The more we learn to trust our instincts, the more comfortable we will get with our natural self. When we make decisions we have to be comfortable with our stance, and more than anything, we have to listen and trust our inner self.
HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOUR DECISION MAKING ABILITY
Confidence is key in anything you do in life, but it’s essential in business and 100% necessary if you want to improve your decision making skills.
Making decisions is hard, that’s why very few people like doing it. If you want to be a great decision maker, you have to have confidence in the decisions you’re making.
I know what many are thinking right now. How do we know the decisions we’re making are the correct ones? We don’t. We have to have confidence (and a little blind faith), that our decisions are the right ones. And when they’re not, we have to be able to pivot and make decisions until we get the right solution.
Every decisive person I know has a sense of confidence about them. When you’re forced to make decisions, you’re put in a position of leadership, and it’s no secret, leadership is all confidence.
Whether the decision you’re faced with is a ‘big deal’, or it’s a small decision that won’t really impact anything outside of what you are wearing to your sales meeting tomorrow, be confident in your stance, make the decision and stand by it.
Confidence will elevate your instincts, decision making, and your ability to lead. It’s a must in all facets of business, and a must in improving your decision making skills.
ELIMINATE YOUR OPTIONS BEFORE YOU MAKE A DECISION
A little process of elimination can go far when you have to make decisions. I once read that we should never give ‘customers a choice’ because then they will never choose. People hate choice, again, because it’s overwhelming and choices can be difficult.
Before you make any decision, walk through the process of elimination. Right away this will logically eliminate choices that you know aren’t fit for what you’re having to make a decision on.
We don’t want to add, or keep, more choices than needed when weighing decisions. Don’t make things hard on yourself, and eliminate choices right away that you know aren’t going to be YOUR answer.
One of the best blogs I’ve read about decision making abilities talks about the importance of walking through the process of elimination. This article believes there are different models of when it comes to the psychology of decision making. One strategy is the Elimination of Aspects Model. This model has been around and studied since the early 1970’s and is believed to be one of the more effective decision making models to date. When taking this type of approach, you analyze each choice, one feature at a time. When a feature doesn’t meet your ‘solution’ you simply eliminate it. When you eliminate a feature, you are essentially eliminating a choice.
START MAKING A TON OF DECISIONS, EVEN IF THEY’RE WRONG, AND START MAKING THEM TODAY
I’ll conclude with this, start making a TON of decisions. Don’t worry if they’re wrong or right, just start making these decisions today. In order to get efficient at decision making, you have to start making decisions, both big and small.
We’ve all heard the term practice makes perfect. Well, we will never be perfect when it comes to making the right decisions, but we can definitely improve our decision making ability by practicing. With that said, go out and start putting yourself in a position to make decisions. Start taking ownership and stepping up when it’s time to make a choice. Becoming a great decision maker doesn’t happen by accident. It happens because you decide to be intentional with your thoughts, direction and ultimately choice.
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