The Business Owner’s Ridiculously Simple Guide to Smart Decision-Making
As an entrepreneur, you need a smart decision-making strategy. You need to be able to pass this strategy on to your leadership team.
And this is the heart of a smart decision-making strategy:
Never do it alone.
I have been discussing this idea with my own team a lot recently. There are so many great ideas popping around 911 Restoration HQ. Our staff is passionate, proactive, and full of incredible ideas… from new marketing strategies to ways we can serve our franchisees.
It’s very important that we make the absolute best of these efforts. This means making the right decision at the right time and executing it in the right way.
To do that, everyone needs to know:
- How their strengths fuel great decisions.
- How their weaknesses have the potential to interfere with opportunity.
- Who is their best decision-making ally.
I learned this formula the hard way. As a young(er) entrepreneur, I saw myself as the Ideas Guy. I created my vision for 911 Restoration, came up with the strategy on my own, and left it up to the CEO to communicate those goals with our team.
All this achieved was miscommunication and frustration.
When I finally realized that I needed to speak directly with my team, we saw incredible growth. Not just because our communication was clearer, but because I had more opportunity to see my staff put their talents to work for the company.
I began to identify strengths and invite the right people to weigh in on the right decisions. Because of this, we made better moves, saw faster growth, and my employees developed a stronger sense of ownership in company success. They became more proactive and morale improved drastically.
It’s a domino effect. Be strategic and humble in your decision-making, and your team will bring you more great ideas to make decisions about.
Best of all, making this shift in your decision-making process couldn’t possibly be easier. (Pro Tip: Share this insight with your managers, too.)
1. Know Your Decision-Making Strengths
When there is a choice to be made, what specific strength do you bring to the table?
- Are you great at analyzing data?
- Do you have a deep understanding of human behavior?
- Are you goal oriented, focused on moving forward instead of getting stuck in the what-ifs?
- Are you the person who champions the bold, creative choice?
- Are you the one who can anticipate the future challenges no one else sees?
- Do you recognize the opportunity in everything?
- Are you the brave one who is willing to turn down an opportunity that sounds profitable but ultimately doesn’t align with your vision and passion?
To put it another way, if you left a decision up to someone else without any input from you, what talent or perspective would be lacking?
When you know your strength, you know how to focus your decision-making input. If, for example, you’re more methodical and data-driven than your partner, you need to accept responsibility for that skill.
Don’t leave it to him to make meaning of the statistics. That’s your strength.
Now, the flip side of this is also important...
2. Know Your Decision-Making Weaknesses
Just as you have a decision-making strength, you also have a weak point.
- If you’re great at analysis, you might also be someone who gets bogged down in statistics, hesitating to try creative approaches or take potentially rewarding risks.
- If you have a deep understanding of human behavior, you might neglect the cold, hard truth of the numbers in favor of your “instincts” about customer needs.
- If you’re goal-focused, you might push forward too impulsively and make costly, avoidable mistakes.
- If you’re good at long-term thinking and weighing risk, you might get decision paralysis, afraid to move forward until you’ve examined every possible outcome.
The point of knowing your weaknesses is not to second-guess your strengths. It’s to help you recognize that there are real risks to making decisions in a vacuum. This is why I talk so much about the importance of uniting your entire team around a clear mission… and about the value of building a network of mentors.
Be honest with yourself. Recognize how your own decision-making inclinations might (and have!) led you astray. Then:
3. Know Who Can Keep You Balanced in the Decision-Making Process
If you tend to be bold and impulsive, who can get you to slow down and look at the data?
If you’re great at anticipating challenges, who will help you make sure the potential risks don’t blind you to the incredible possibilities?
Bring that person (or those people) into the conversation.
Most companies start as a one-man operation. As a result, business-owners fall into the trap of thinking of themselves as the sole decision-maker.
But you didn’t build a team just to get some extra tasks done. At least, I hope you didn’t. I hope you built a team with the expectation that the people you hired will contribute talents you don’t have in order to make your business better… in order to make you better.
You pay for this talent. Use it. Invite your sales team to share their input on marketing decisions. Ask your techs what they think about a new service you think you’d like to add. Empower your COO to challenge you to move forward when you’re frozen by information overload.
Just as importantly, train your employees to do the same. Your job as a leader is to guide them to see themselves honestly, recognize each other’s strengths, and collaborate.
And if you don’t have a team yet? Find someone in your network who will discuss your decision with you. Call a cool-headed colleague or reach out to the former coworker who seems to take unthinkably bold steps and find great success. Even just a short call, email, or cup of coffee can mean the difference between making the same old missteps and discovering new possibilities.
You’ve heard me say it before, and I won’t stop staying it any time soon:
We do not succeed alone. That’s not how this works.
Know yourself. Know your support system. And make powerful decisions together.
Further Resources on This Topic
Free Video Course: Accelerating Business Growth