31 August 2022

A business leader has to make the calls, so it’s crucial to have a flair for knowing which way to go

Running a business is mentally and emotionally challenging. As the leader, your task is to be the point person for almost every tough decision your business has to make, while at the same time making sure your team is inspired and committed to working towards the goals.

It’s inevitable that you will be forced to face a hard decision along the way. Sometimes you would need to make a risky strategic move for the business, or maybe it’s as simple as needing to terminate an employee who you’ve been personally close with.  Either way, these decisions have to be made and they’re on your plate, so it’s helpful to come up with strategies you can use to make these decisions easier, particularly in formulating a superior option and battling the stress and burdens that come along with it.

Reduce the stress of decision-making

Decision fatigue is a known occurrence that sets in when a person is faced with too many successive decisions. Even minor decisions can accumulate the stress of decision-making and make dealing with bigger decisions more stressful. To fight decision fatigue, try spending less time on small-scale decisions. Prioritise concerns that are urgent and important, and let other people on your team decide things that don’t have much impact on you or your business.

Take yourself out of the equation

It’s easier to make decisions when you detach yourself from the issue altogether. Visualise that the problem isn’t happening to your company, so your perspective is that of someone from the outside.

Determine the core issue and describe the situation in your mind. If a friend or colleague came up to you and asked for advice, what would you tell that person? Generally, it’s easier to realize the answer when we’re removed from the situation because the stakes are lower — but the solution is just as good.

Set a fixed deadline

Working with a lot of entrepreneurs as a Business Coach, I’ve noticed that one of the biggest challenges in decision-making is being decisive in a timely manner. Business leaders tend to procrastinate. Ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? It states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. In other words, the amount of time it takes for you to do a certain task swells to fill the amount of time allotted for it.

So if you give yourself, say, a week to make a decision on something, you’re going to take a week. If you give yourself a day, you’re going to take a day. While it’s not wise to rush decisions with major consequences, you’ll also want to set a strict timetable so you don’t end up procrastinating too long. Your time and resources are too precious to be wasted.

Let numbers guide you

Decisions are easier when you quantify them. Numbers don’t lie, so when you play the numbers game, you’ll always see things objectively and this allows you to make decisions stress-free. Some things cannot be measured, though, and that’s when you may need to assign values just so you could make a quantitative comparison.

Numbers are also helpful when you need to make decisions based on historical data. Many business owners take for granted the value of looking at trends and other charts that can help provide a broader perspective on growth and changes. If you try to make a crucial decision without the slightest help of any form of statistic, you’re increasing your chances of making the wrong move.

Always think long-term

Sometimes, we get so caught up in the midst of the current situation that we tend to focus only on resolving the crisis at hand, neglecting to see the bigger picture. Band-aid solutions can create long-term damage to the overall behavior of your business, which makes future problems more difficult to solve.

Always think about how your decision would impact your business in the next few months or years. Think of ripple effects and succeeding consequences. Just because you’re dealing with something that seems trivial doesn’t mean it can’t have a large-scale impact on your business. Every decision you make doesn’t necessarily have to affect macro-level objectives but make sure you don’t take long-term effects out of the equation.

Our Cycle of Business Success Workshops are game-changers for business owners. They love what they see, and it completely fires them up. You’ve got nothing to lose by coming along to these free events and everything to gain. Why wait? Don’t put off until tomorrow what you absolutely know you should do today. I’ve helped thousands of business owners to build and grow their businesses – and they’ve never looked back.

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