Published November 23, 2022
QUESTION: I am in a position of authority that requires me to make hard decisions that directly influence the success of our business. My fear of making a wrong decision sometimes causes me to doubt my instincts. What do you suggest?
ANSWER: It has been said that a bad decision is better than no decision at all. While this may sound counterintuitive, there are lessons to be learned from a decision gone wrong.
As the manager or owner of a business, it is your responsibility to steer the ship. Your employees and customers depend on you to make decisions.
Do not let yourself fall victim to “analysis paralysis.” This is a disease caused by overthinking every decision. This is not to say that you should forsake the due diligence necessary to, hopefully, ensure a favorable outcome. By all means, do your research, hold meetings with your employees, and consider opposing points of view. But in the final analysis, you are the one who must make the hard choices.
I once read about a successful entrepreneur who, when faced with the hard decision whether to buy a business, considered a worst-case scenario. If, after doing his due diligence, the pros outweighed the cons, he did the deal.
As human beings, we all want to avoid making mistakes and failing. None of us have all the right answers. I would be less than honest if I told you I never made a bad decision. However, I will tell you that once I determined my mistake, I set about to make the best of it and never make the same mistake again.
That we will make some bad choices is inevitable, but this is all part of a learning process that leaders must endure.
To ensure the best outcomes, consider the following:
- Thoroughly research the issues: Try to focus on results. If the pros outweigh the cons, go for it.
- Try to avoid stress: Stress causes one to doubt and overthink. When anxiety kicks in, stop what you’re doing, go on to something else, and come back refreshed.
- Reflect on past decisions: Take pride in the ones that went well and remember the lessons learned from those that did not.
Gray Poehler is a volunteer with SCORE. Business counseling on this and other business matters is available, without charge, from the Naples Chapter of SCORE. Call (239) 430-0081 or visit https://naples.score.org/mentors. For information on Score’s Workshops log on to https://tinyurl.com/35van3yf . The SCORE business office is located at 900 Goodlette Road in Naples, Florida