Every day we instinctively make decisions. If we didn’t, then we and those around us would grind to a halt. If we couldn’t decide what to eat we would go hungry. If we couldn’t decide what to wear we wouldn’t get dressed. If we sat in our car not able to decide which way to turn at a junction we would never reach our destination (and you would inevitably create a jam and become pretty unpopular).
If you make a wrong decision you may get stomach ache, get questioned about your dress sense or make a wrong turn and need to turn around. Nothing drastic but its clear that making the wrong decision is preferable to making no decision at all. And yes, these are trivial examples in order to make a point.
As subjects become more important and decisions more difficult the question of which is worse – no decision or the wrong decision? – becomes more prevalent. Making the wrong decisions, be they personal, business, political, can have dire consequences. But would making no decision be better?
Take politics…right now it appears that the European political leaders don’t know what to do about the Euro crisis and those countries that cannot pay their debts. They appear to procrastinate whilst the situation gets worse but one thing is certain, if they do nothing then this house of cards will collapse all around them and who knows where this will leave Europe and the rest of the world. Doing something has to be better than doing nothing.
When in 2008 Alistair Darling sat on the decision to suspend stamp duty the sales of houses plummeted and the already stricken property market arguably worsened as everyone waited for him to make a decision.
We can all think of many examples (including I’m sure in our own lives) of situations made far worse when no decision was made over the wrong decision. A wrong decision may be damaging but at least it is a decision that you can learn from and would more likely be better than making no decision at all.
In your business you have to make decisions. If you don’t, situations will deteriorate and your people and partners will lose confidence in you. If you make what turns out to be the wrong decision but can demonstrate good reasons for making it then your business may hurt for a while, but you will learn from the experience, your people and partners will in the main understand and appreciate a decision had to be made and you can always do something to rectify it. Strong leaders are those who can admit they made a mistake. Strong leaders are not those who cannot make a decision for fear of making the wrong one.
Today, in your business, are there decisions you need to make that you’ve been putting off? If so, then take time out, weigh up the pros and cons, talk to others if you need to and make a decision.
Whether it turns out to be right or wrong you’ll feel better for making it than you will if you sit on it.
What tough decisions have you had to make recently?