Your Decision-Making Is Hurting Your Company

Mike Kotsis Leadership, Small Business Leave a Comment

businessman sitting at a table with notebook drawing many arrows as he is decision-making

Small business leaders have a lot on their plate. It’s normal to be juggling at least 136 issues at any given moment. Time is a scarce resource. Unfortunately, most small business leaders have their time taken up by reacting in firefighting mode to the latest need or crisis of the day.

These items always seem urgent, but usually not enough time is spent to consider their importance. And this pattern happens over and over again. Without clear decision making tools, small business leaders are unknowingly causing inefficiencies and slowing their company’s pace of growth.

7 Signs Your Leading Lacks Decision-making Skills

How do your decision-making skills measure up? How many of these pitfalls do you fall into?

  1. Relying on consensus decision-making. You’re trying to come up with a decision that makes everyone happy – and unfortunately when this happens, the resulting decision isn’t always in the best interest for your company. Plus, the length of time it takes to reach consensus every time will be damaging to the company.
  2. Avoiding the tough decisions. You’ve got an elephant in the room, the sacred cow – you know, the really uncomfortable decisions that tend to revolve around long time people (employees, partners, or family members) on your team that really shouldn’t be there anymore. By avoiding the tough decisions, you, your team, and your company can’t reach your true potential.
  3. Procrastinating. You know that you’ve got to tackle something, but you’re putting it off until later. Later never seems to come. Essentially, by procrastinating, you’re choosing to live with long-term pain. That project or decision is still on your mind – you know you’ve got to do it, and it’s weighing on you, lingering in the back of your mind, not allowing you to be fully present or engaged. If this is the way you operate, anytime your employees procrastinate, it’s actually a reflection on your behavior. Actions speak louder than words.
  4. Relying on secondhand information. Ever play the telephone game? One simple message is easily turned into something completely different once it’s passed from person to person, even if it’s unintended. This can be extremely damaging to your team and company.
  5. Finding the fastest fix to relieve the pain. AKA the quick fix. The quick fix is rarely the right fix.
  6. Trying to solve them all. Don’t try to tackle all of your issues at one time, just to clear your plate. This can be extremely time consuming. And worse yet, you’re likely spending precious time on items that aren’t important right now. They might be important down the road, but just not right now.
  7. This is the way it’s always been. Habits, routines, and behaviors form over time. They can be difficult to identify after a while because you’re on autopilot. When faced with the response of “this is the way it’s always been,” realize that you have the ability to make a difference. It’s up to you to live with it, end it, or change it.

Most small business leaders experience these symptoms when it comes to decision making. There’s a way to overcome this. Gino Wickman describes them as the Ten Commandments of Decision Making:

Thou Shalt:

  1. Not rule by consensus. Consensus management doesn’t work, period. Eventually, group consensus decisions will put you out of business. When the leader makes the final decision in these situations, not everyone will be pleased, but as long as their voices have been heard and if the team is healthy, they can usually live with it.
  2. Not be a weenie. The solution is often simple, but it’s not always easy. You must have a strong will, firm resolve, and the willingness to make the tough decision.
  3. Be decisive. Lack of decision, or procrastination, is one of the major causes companies fail. It’s less important what you decide than it is that you decide … so, decide!
  4. Not rely on secondhand information. You can’t solve an issue involving multiple people
    without all the parties present.
  5. Fight for the greater good. If you stay focused on the greater good (i.e., the vision of the organization), it will lead you to better and faster decisions.
  6. Thou Shalt Not Try to Solve Them All. Take issues one at a time, in order of priority. What counts isn’t quantity but quality.
  7. Live with it, end it, or change it. If you can no longer live with the issue, you have two options: change it or end it. There are no other choices!
  8. Choose short-term pain and suffering. Both long-term and short-term pain involve suffering. You have a choice with all of the issues you face. Solve your problem now rather than later. The fear of doing it is worse than actually doing it. Choose short-term suffering.
  9. Enter the danger. The issue you fear the most is the one you most need to discuss and resolve.
  10. Take a shot. Often, a team will discuss an issue for far too long. Taking a shot means that you should propose a solution. Don’t wait around for someone else to solve it.

Each of the Ten Commandments of Decision making is taught and explained in detail in the ebook Decide! by Gino Wickman. Decide! can help you realize which mistakes your team might be suffering from, then solve them and improve your team’s decision-making speed. As a result, you’ll root out inefficiencies and ensure your company stays on the growth path you want.

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