5 Way to Make Better Decisions

One of the things I’m known for is my decisiveness. (Hey, there are worse things to be known for, right?)

I’ve owned several companies throughout my career, and I am often required to make major decisions. I have learned how to make fast, efficient decisions because time really is money. The longer you take to make a decision, the more stress you add to yourself and the more money you’ll cost yourself and your business.

That being said, there’s a difference between making fast decisions and making impulsive ones. I am never impulsive or irrational when it comes to taking action. I’m a rational, logical person, and that applies to my decision-making as well. I have learned how to assess situations more quickly so I can take action faster. In many ways, this is how I’ve created success. Leaders and subordinates alike can take note on how to take more action and subsequently take control of their lives so it’s one they want to be leading.

  1. Look at the whole picture. When I have to make a decision, I first take an overall assessment of the situation, and I start by thinking very high-level. I look 5,000 feet high, then 25,000 feet high. I see the entire picture and create a general strategy around that. When I understand the big picture, it makes it easier to make minute decisions. This philosophy extends to how I perceive myself within the context of my business. Even though I’ve co-owned several companies, I never refer to myself as the boss. On the contrary, I always say I’m part of the team — because I am. We all have a role to play, and everyone adds value to the success of the business. With that mindset, I’m able to view my team as an entity. I’m just one piece of the puzzle. I consciously surround myself with people who balance my weaknesses, and I listen to others and get their input when I need to make a decision. Learn to see your team and the decision at hand as part of a bigger picture.

  2. Trust your gut. The only regrets I have come from times when I didn’t listen to my gut. My intuition is right the vast majority of the time. For example, in many of my business endeavors, there have been times where I did not trust my gut. The ramifications of not “trusting my gut” has led to difficult situations and business headaches. These varied from hiring employees to selecting business partners to pursuing different business opportunities. Currently, I am dealing with a business acquisition, and my gut is telling me which way I should go. When I haven’t gone with my business instinct, it’s usually because I didn’t trust my intuition.

  3. Confront issues in real time. Most people fear confrontation, but I lean into it. I mean, let’s be clear, it’s not as if I’m seeking drama. Nobody enjoys conflict. But if there is a problem, choosing not to address it doesn’t do anyone any favors. When something isn’t right, I get to the bottom of the real issue. Problems beneath the surface only fester and build resentment. Once everything is out in the open, then great, that’s something we can address and fix.

  4. Leave emotion out of decisions. Let’s get one thing straight: this philosophy does not mean I’m acting immorally or unethically. I just believe there’s no room for emotion in business. You simply can’t bring personal feelings into a business decision: business is hard enough without convoluting it with emotional distress. Because I always begin any business decision by viewing the situation at a very high level (see point one), this helps me suss out the objective reality from my personal emotions.

  5. Speak out but ultimately respect the decision. Whether you’re the leader or the subordinate, your perspective and opinion are incredibly valuable. The team needs to hear it. But — and here’s the important part — when the decision has been made, back the team even if you originally disagreed. This is hugely important because when the decision is made, everybody has to work together to make a successful outcome. You can’t be the one sitting back waiting for it to fail because you didn’t agree. If that is the case, you should have fought harder for your approach and convinced others to go your direction. If you end up being right about the situation, you cannot hold it above the team’s head. When action has been taken, you’re part of the group now, because the decision is serving a bigger purpose. This is the only way to keep the democracy of the business alive and well. There’s no room for indignance in business. If you were right, everyone knows it anyway. You’ll go further faster if you agree to follow the group’s decision and back them 100 percent. And if you’ve spoken up and made your perspective known, you’ll feel better about doing that.

I may be known for my quick decision-making, but I’m also known for my logic. And yes, the two can go hand-in-hand. You don’t have to ponder a decision for weeks in order to make a good one. The best decision makers are the people who make the quickest ones. They understand that perfection is the enemy of good. You’ll never make a perfect decision, even if you weigh the pros and cons for weeks.

Learn to trust yourself, and you will be making faster (and better) decisions in no time.