Over on the Inc blog there is an article titled 20 Executives Share Lessons They Wish They Could Have Told Their Younger Selves. I share my top 4 from the full list, in the order that I think they are important.
The most relevant for me was number 9, not for the “decide issues quickly” but for “figure out what typically slows down your decision making and find ways to work around it”. I took some time to reflect…
What slows down my own (business) decision making?
…this is a brain dump of thoughts that come to me now…
- Fear of being wrong
- Fear of a better idea coming up tomorrow when we have already committed to this course
- Feeling like I have to figure out all the implementation details now rather than allow them to be decided when they become necessary.
- Feeling like I need to have a really good explanation of my decision that will impress others and have them see me as a “decisive visionary leader”
- Feeling like I have to be 100% sure
- Feeling like I should speak to a few more people and get their inputs first
- Worrying that I have messed up similar decisions in the past (particularly people decisions)
- Not seeing the costs of delaying the decision (both financial, and that it then hangs on my mind while I wait to actually commit to a decision)
- Not being systematic about the approach to taking decisions
- Not distinguishing between small decisions and big decisions and having a clearly different process for each
- Not trusting myself to figure out how to make it work down the road
- Not stopping to clarify exactly why the decision is important and how it relates to my vision and purpose
What slows down your decision making?
Here’s the four lessons from the article that I found most valuable and important to me right now. Numbers are from the Inc Article, Bold text is my own addition…
9. Maximize your time.
“The fastest way to maximize your time is to decide issues quickly. If you need to speed up your decision making, figure out what typically slows down your decision making and find ways to work around it. Pass responsibilities down as far as your people are comfortable. This is another way of speeding up your decision making, by giving others power to decide. You’ll often find that this motivates your employees, building their confidence and enthusiasm, and over time they will gradually accept more responsibility. Clarify your company’s vision, so everyone on the team intuitively understands when projects should be prioritized.”
—Jesse Robbins, founder and CEO of Orion Labs, an enterprise voice platform which secured $18.25 million last fall to expand its next-generation of services to the broader speech and voice recognition market, on track to be worth $18.3 billion by 2023
If you want to explore more about taking better decisions quickly, you could continue reading How to Choose in Life Decisions and Agonizing over Decisions.
1. You don’t have to be strong all the time.
“It’s OK to be vulnerable. In high school and college, I spent a lot of time learning to be mentally strong, which can be a good thing, since resilience will wear down mountains given time. However, you don’t have to be strong all the time. Tell people when you don’t know, and when you’re worried. You’d be amazing how much help you’ll get, and how much of a connection that creates.”
—Mike Tuchen, CEO of Talend, a provider of cloud and big data integration solutions which saw its stock rise nearly 60 percent over the past year
If you want to explore more about leading as a real human being, you could continue reading Freedom is not Fun and 17 Personal Habits for a Fulfilling Life.
3. You need people who question your beliefs.
“CEOs need people around them who are going to question their fundamental beliefs. These people should test and push, so CEOs are forced to question the decisions that they’re making and plan for the inevitable ups and downs that building a company will bring. If you surround yourself with coaches, prodders, and different thinkers, you will create a feedback loop that will fundamentally change your view of the world and make you a better leader.”
—Gordon Ritter, founder and general partner of Emergence Capital, an enterprise cloud venture firm which was recently named Venture Capital Firm of the Year by the National Venture Capital Association
If you want to explore more about getting good feedback for your growth, you could continue reading Accepting Feedback and Managing Oneself. You should also check out Entrepreneurs Organisation, Young Presidents Organisation or Vistage as these organisations will help you find a group of peers who can challenge your beliefs and inspire you to be the best that you can.
18. Speak up.
“The one thing I wish my younger self knew was how to find a balance between acting smart and expressing achievements without hesitation. Stereotypes of women’s behavior can dominate perceptions, and as a woman in a male-dominated, STEM-related field, I’ve learned how to take a seat at the table and deliver my message so that it’s heard and respected.”
—Chris Mackey, CEO of MackeyRMS, a research management platform for investment professionals that has taken no outside capital/funding, with clients on its platform managing over $1 trillion in assets
If you want to explore more about speaking up, you could continue begin my free 10 week program Speaking as a Leader and Five and a half reasons why you should start a blog today.