Decision making – a key skill for business success

Decision making – a key skill for business success

This past month saw me making my boldest move ever as we traded the mountains and lakes of Switzerland for the desert and cacti of the southwest United States. But we’re now firmly established in our new house in Scottsdale, Arizona.

To make such a move with 2 children in tow, starting a new life and new schools is no easy feat – particularly during Arizona’s blisteringly hot summer. It required a crystal clear vision and a robust plan that was executed as we moved into our beautiful new home just a few days ago.

That said, the amount of decisions we had to make in a very short space of time has been mind-blowing – some were expected such as choosing paint colors the day after we landed from Switzerland, buying new cars, furniture and appliances, registering the kids in new schools, and getting new phones and Internet services working. But some were completely unexpected – like having to do a crash course to obtain an Arizona drivers license as our Swiss licenses weren’t recognized here and having to call paramedics when my 16 year old dislocated his shoulder.

quote-blog-decisionWith all this decision-making that we made in such a short time, I started to get really curious about how I actually make those decisions and questioned if my decision-making process helps or hinders me in achieving my goals.

Running your own business is just the same – each and every day you have to be able to make a multitude of decisions rapidly if you want to progress; what to say yes to, what to say no to, who to partner with, who to have in your team, what to do yourself and what to outsource, what marketing activities to undertake, etc.

Knowing how you make decisions is key to being able to improve your decision-making skills. Are you somebody that needs a lot of information and analysis of data before you can proceed? Do you use your intuition and proceed with what feels right, trusting your gut instincts? Do you need to consult with others and let time pass before deciding?

Each style has it’s inherent strengths and risks – gathering information and appropriate data will help inform grounded decisions but too much data can lead to overwhelm and analysis paralysis. Intuition is a very powerful resource and if you tune it in regularly, it can help you make very rapid decisions. But relying solely on intuition can be risky, especially when working with others who may require more information. Yet growing a business often involves stepping outside your comfort zone so the best decisions don’t always necessarily “feel right”. Consulting with others can providing different perspectives and healthy challenges and validation to your ideas but relying too heavily on others can also be time consuming and lead to a loss of confidence in your own decision-making ability.

What I came to realize for myself was that I’m first and foremost an intuitive decision-maker, using some data to support me and running my decisions by one or two trusted advisors if I feel the need for some extra support.

Most importantly, remember that most decisions can be evaluated along the way and then tweaked as the situation evolves and new information comes to light. There’s no need to be stuck or become hindered by slow decision-making. It becomes frustrating not only for you as a business owner but also for those who work with you!

Understanding your best way to make decisions and making them quickly is a key skill in growing your business! 

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© 2012 Vanessa Shaw

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