How much more energy, time, and progress would you have if every time you had to make a decision you knew exactly what to do?
When you are not confident in your ability to make decisions, you become very fearful of making the wrong decision, so we put it off until 'later'. This indecisiveness becomes mental torture, for ourselves and those that are looking to us to make these decisions.
There is a clear cut, super simple framework for you in solving any decision dilemma you may face. It's what I used for years and how I empowered my teams when they needed to make decisions.
I can remember when I was a first time General Manager. I was responsible for a very big rodeo, a 350+ occupancy Pet Hotel. Now mind you, I was hired as the GM rather than the AGM getting promoted, not because she didn't have the operational knowledge, she had been there 10+ years, she just hadn't polished her leadership skills yet (I'm happy to say she has become an incredible leader to date and has a loyal, happy, productive team).
But here we were...her years of experience and my status as 'the new boss'. Her approach to our operations was in direct conflict with mine. Ugh. Here I am, new kid on the block, and someone who's been around is inwardly sneering at my call.
For a second, I was shaken up. Nervous. Unsure. "Maybe just do it how she says" I thought. But then, I steeled myself.
I remembered there was a reason I was hired and she wasn't promoted. There was a reason the whole team got behind when she did it 'her way'.
Nope, I was not going to let her or my nerves sway me. I had to stand firm and direct the team as how I saw the most effective and productive...even with her questioning my decision.
I also knew 'my way' was best for our clients. I knew what I wanted to accomplish, why it was important, by when it needed to be done, and how to best make it happen.
I'm happy to say she was a convert after that day. I had stood firm (no one knew the butterflies I had at first) and my process worked beautifully.
Here's how I was able to stay unshakable in my decision making:
First things first...in order for this framework to be useful, you must know the following about your company/business:
REQUIREMENT: Know Your Why. For those of you familiar with Simon Sinek's work, that the why we do behind the what we do is the key, you will not be surprised to know it is the foundation to making any and all decisions. Since your why is the reason, the purpose, driving your company's existence, it can easily be woven into the fabric of your decision making...it must! Why would you make a decision that represented anything else??!!
Part 1: FRAME THE DECISION WITH THESE 3 TENETS:
- Best For *Business
- Best For *Client
- Best For ________ (whatever your third one is)
*The first two are pretty universal, although you may need to tweak slightly. The point is when you cut right down to it, these three are what matter most.
PART 2: putting your decision in perspective
Ask yourself the following question, it provides you perspective, perhaps revealing that the stakes are not as dire or high as you may think:
"What's the worst that could happen?"
When you ask and answer this, you soon realize it's not life or death and you probably won't ruin your business or put yourself out of a job with one decision (especially if you are using the framework). What's the worst that can happen? Can even provide a chuckle when you realize how worked up you've become. Really look at this so you come face to face with what that is...then you can proceed, decide, and act having confronted the scariest outcome possible. Sometimes the best part of the decision isn't about if you make the best choice, it's about going full force with your wits and no guarantee. (P.S. It does not escape me that sometimes we are wrong about what the worst actually could be, these are humbling lessons. On the bright side, we are also sometimes wrong about how epic the win could be...these victories turn us into superheroes.)
My favorite part...the benefit of the benefit.
When you frame your decision making based on this 2 part framework, there is almost no way you can be steered wrong. What's more? It's exactly how you empower others to make decisions. I would tell my team, "If you make your decision based on the above...I will never be upset with you!" How could I? Their intention was sound! Even if it may not have panned out the way they intended, there is almost no situation where you cannot bounce back from if it was based on this 2 part framework.