Decisions…decisions…decisions! Is it making knee jerk decisions, no decisions, or insanity that destroys a business? And, how can your business avoid… or, at the very least, plan to avoid the potential catastrophe? Every day we make hundreds of decision from what to wear, to what to eat, to what to buy and what to sell? Businesses make decisions about what business they are in, who is their target market, and how to reach them? Think about your business and businesses with which you are familiar. What decisions along the way spurred growth and which ones stunted that growth—maybe even detrimentally? We have all heard the term “knee-jerk” but what does it mean in business? According to Cambridge Dictionaries, it is a quick reaction that does not allow you time to consider something carefully. In reality, everyone has made a decision like this in their life… only to question it later upon deeper reflection if it was a bad one. When knee-jerks happen in your business—the ramifications can spread far and wide. In business, these types of decisions don’t just impact your external market but your internal market. The lack of identifying these sort of decisions that require further analyzing on their impact creates instability in and outside of your business. Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” On the other hand, once a company understands what has worked well in its business growth, repeating the process while fine-tuning it continuously along the way will lead to further growth. These decisions become no brainers. Part of the fabric that makes them successful. Their unique methodology or secret ingredient. While Einstein’s quote is so true, and we all know of people and businesses that seem to operate just that way, there is a time to stay true to strategic plans, policies and procedures—perfecting them to maintain the competitive edge required in today’s market. Chet Holmes was known for saying that “[becoming a master] success is not about doing 4,000 things, but about doing 12 things 4,000 times.” He was speaking about the 12 core competencies that when practiced, learned and repeated lead businesses to their ultimate goals. Those core competencies don’t change from day to day, week to week or even year to year because they are the foundation of the business. Products or services may change with time, but the core competencies of the business are your strength that project stability and control to your current and future clientele. As time goes on, you, of course, want to evaluate and re-evaluate each facet of your business to find ways to improve upon successes, seek answers and strategies for tactics that aren’t working and above all ensure your entire team is kept informed, in the loop of communication which leads to a ‘united, on the same page with the same story front’ to your clients and/or customers. Make the decision today to create such an image, and you’ll be amazed at the continual, positive response and word of mouth advertising your target market will create on behalf your business. Some leaders avoid making decisions altogether! In a twenty year study by author, Paul Nutt, in his book: Why Decisions Fail revealed that about half of all business decisions end in failure. His research showed that failed decisions have three things in common:
- Rushing to judgment.
- Misusing their resources.
- Repeatedly use failure prone tactics to make decisions.
The above themes were found big losses such as EuroDisney, the Firestone tire recall and Quaker’s acquisition of Snapple for examples. One of the saddest decisions made in business was Kodak’s managements’ inability to see digital photography as the future. The very company that invented it… described it as “that’s cute—but don’t tell anyone about it.” (Source: NY Times May 2, 2008) Kodak should have been the champion of their discovery but chose not to be. Instead, even in their pursuit of digital, they continued to push print because they were in the photo film, chemical and paper business. So, what business are you in? How do you make decisions in your company? Do you designate at least one hour per week working “on” your business? Decision-making is an essential leadership skill. Let’s see what leaders say: Keep your focus on the big picture. “My decision-making process begins with: a) Will it strengthen my brand? b) How soon could it positively impact sales or PR? c) If it’s something that involves my time, will it stretch me or snap me? If it simply takes ‘time’ but doesn’t stretch me, I’ll outsource it or give it to my assistant. Focus on the big picture. If I’m spinning my wheels, I’ll try a new path.” - Malena Lott, Author and Brand Strategist of Buzz Books USA Always assume you know less than you do. “I always assume I know less than I really do. That frame of mind has me in constant pursuit of feedback from mentors, so I created an Advisory Board to help me tackle the tough issues regarding growth, staffing, finance, vendor selection, etc. I have ten colleagues, each of them successful and carrying more experience in marketing than myself. The result has been outstanding, and it has truly fast-tracked the growth of my firm.” - Patrick King, Founder and CEO of Imagine Seek out a mentor or coach, and take the time to work “on” your business each week instead of “in” your business (The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes). Set aside at least one hour per week with a mentor, coach or team to consider where the business is today, where you want it to be, and determine strategies and tactics to get there. The decisions made in this meeting of the minds should be well thought out, well communicated throughout the business and implemented properly. Working “on” your business at a predetermined time each week will help your business know:
- Where your business brain blind spots are?
- How to supercharge your team for change?
- The secret to finally getting follow-through from employees, clients/customers and even yourself?
The results will lead to better informed, timely, well planned decisions. To your success. Mikki Shepard President, Client Relations/Ombudsman Business Mastery Coach