Running a business you will be faced with more decisions than you count or track, what will set you apart is your ability to make a decision.
Indecisiveness is the one trait you cannot afford when tasked to be a good leader.
The risk of indecision is preferable to the terror of indecision.
To date, I have made more bad decisions than I care to admit, but have yet to come to a point where indecisiveness paralyzed me. I may get weighed by my own analysis or thought process, but I attribute that mostly to the process of trying to make the best decision possible. Note that I don’t emphasize on making a good decision.
In hindsight everything will always be clear, a success will be attributed to a good decision and a failure will be attributed to a bad one. The reality is though, that a success might be reached via a bad decision as much as a failure can be attributed to a good decision. Such is the conundrum we must bare with every decision we make.
What I am coming to terms with is that there really is no good or bad decision when you’re in the process of making it, just what is and isn’t and what will and won’t happen.
Indecisiveness, I just can’t …
There are a number things that define you as being an indecisive leader:
- You literally can’t make a decision.
- You constantly seek approval of a decision.
- You constantly look to someone else to help dictate the decision.
- You avoid accountability of a decision.
Your inability to make the decision is attributed to three things in my mind:
- Fear of what people will think
- Uncertainty of the result
- Confidence, or lack there of
The Poison that is Indecisiveness
The challenge with indecisiveness is that no matter how good you feel you are at making a decision, it always finds a way to creep into your life. You must be careful not to confuse confidence with arrogance.
- As your business does better you begin to feel the pressures of success and any decision against the current good becomes an overwhelming thought. What if that decision breaks the positive track?
- If your business is doing poorly you can’t help but question your judgement. Which decision led you down this path of failure? Will the next decision be the final one?
- As your team grows, and the responsibility of people weigh on your shoulders you begin to realize the gravity of your decision. If I divert resources to that initiative, and it fails, what then? How many people will that bad decision impact?
I agree that these scenarios likely don’t help at all, in fact as I read through them again they are a bit down right depressing. They are however the reality and as a leader of your 1, 50, 100 person company you must be prepared to make them.
Your inability to make a decision will fester within your organization like a poison. Those internally will realize something is off. This will lead to lack of trust, confidence in your leadership and will ultimately have catastrophic impacts on the companies success.
Accounting for Indecision
I think that indecision is something that will fester, and manifest over time.
Truth be told, I fear it. I fear the day I wake up and I am faced with a decision that will likely immobilize me by the fear and weight of the decision.
I came across a great article on Forbes: 7 Ways to Cope with Indecision.
Because indecision is ultimately an action issue (rather than a cognitive one), the person gripped by it can look contemplative when, in fact, he is immobilized by fear.
In the article they offer 7 ways to account for indecision that I found to be insightful:
- Forget About Appearing Smart
- Trust Your Gut (Your Intuition)
- Beware the Paradox of Choice
- Prioritize your Demands (And Fears)
- Channel Winston Churchill
- Accept the Limits of Analysis
- Flip a Coin
What I hope I remember the day this hits me is that there really is no right or wrong decision, just the fact that a decision must be made.
If you don’t make the right decision, you can make the decision right.