In last week’s post, I addressed the rippling effects of making fear-based decisions in business. As promised, I’m now going to offer some ways to rethink how you go about making decisions.
While most decisions are rarely perfect, you want to ensure that you’re operating from a place of abundance so that, at the very least, you do no harm.
Here are a few ideas to address some of the major pitfalls I see in many organizations:
1. Avoid making decisions based on one metric alone.
Whatever that one metric is—whether it be money, performance, sales, or an employee’s attitude—you want to be sure to gather additional data before making a key decision.
Systems and the people in them are nuanced and complex. I recommend you do your best to gather as much information from as many reliable sources as possible before jumping to any conclusions. If you’re not a natural “systems thinker,” beware, as you risk basing your decisions on that one metric you feel is the most important one of all: Sales, nickels and noses, or customer satisfaction.
I know this sounds simple enough, but I can’t tell you how often I see business leaders make rash decisions based on little to no information.
Having said this, you don’t want to get paralyzed by your own need to gather more and more data. As one of my colleagues reminded me the other day, leaders are also able to assess the situation, and when appropriate, make strategic decisions quickly based on their innate experience. So, don’t be afraid to trust yourself.
Additionally, you want to make sure that your decisions are grounded in the vision and values of your organization. Any decisions counter to the foundation or DNA of the business will result in a tidal wave that goes well beyond the rippling effect I addressed last week.
Yes, morale and engagement deteriorate when we make poor decisions, but when those decisions impact the overall culture, we also fracture the infrastructure. People become misaligned with the vision and values, and when they do, the systems and processes begin to unravel, and with them, customers or clients disappear.
Every decision you make has the potential to impact the culture of your business in negative or positive ways so you’d be wise to ask yourself:
Will this decision I’m about to make benefit the culture or undermine it?
2. Look for multiple perspectives that challenge your existing paradigms.
If you’ve had any level of success in your business, there’s a risk that what you know may limit your perspective in a new or challenging situation. Pay close attention to the information you’re gathering overall, but pay particular attention to any data that seems to bump you up against that which you believe to be true.
The very ideas that seem to cause us conflict or turmoil are often stirring something within our own internal system as well as the overall organizational system.
Think of this turmoil as nothing more than information. Here again, the system is trying to tell you that something is out of balance and it needs to be addressed. Rather than discount that information, lean into it. Seek counsel, if needed, and ask yourself what might need to happen to restore equilibrium.
For example, if you have a cadre of employees who are disgruntled, you’ll want to explore the hidden and underlying dynamics of specific departmental systems before jumping to conclusions about the problem stemming from one specific person or issue.
3. Avoid Group Think
As I stated in last week’s post, the easiest thing to do is to gather evidence to be right about something you already want to have happen. If I want a specific employee terminated, for example, I will go about seeking evidence in support of that desire. I may even fail to reach out to the individual herself to ascertain her point of view on the situation.
Worst of all, it’s easy to fall into group think. Even if you have a group of trusted advisors—no especially when you have a group of trusted advisors—be careful not to fall into groupthink.
Groupthink occurs when a group of people or an individual within that group focus on a desire for conformity and harmony such that they close off opportunities for creative ideas to be explored. The result of groupthink is often irrational decisions that ultimately damage the business.
4. Seek Wise Counsel
In my practice, I often find myself working with business leaders and entrepreneurs who seek “think tank” opportunities with a trusted person outside their internal team. When facing a tough decision or dilemma, it’s important to have a supporting network or even one neutral individual that can fill that role. I invite you to seek counsel from a coach or perhaps even join a trusted mastermind group if you find yourself needing that level of support.
We’re often too close to our own work to march through the murkiness in isolation. Wise business leaders know that it’s important to have alliances with trusted peer(s) from whom they can seek counsel.
Think about a decision that is currently on your plate? What do you need to do to gather more information? Where is there room for you to explore more creative options? Where can you find “think-tank” opportunities to support you in this process?
If you want to learn more about how to engage in abundant perspectives while doing business, check out my latest book, The Pursuit of Time and Money: Step Into Radical Abundance and Discover the Secret to a Meaningful Prosperous Life at www.SharonSpano.com or www.TheTimeMoneyBook.com.