As an entrepreneur you make decisions all day, every day.

With all the available data, new analytics software and the advances of AI, there’s pressure for entrepreneurs to make their decisions faster and better.

Since, as we all know, the difference between a good and a bad decision, can make or break your business, minimizing the number of bad decisions is an important factor in your success.

According to a survey conducted by McKinsey in May 2019, managers at a typical Fortune 500 company could waste more than 500,000 days a year on ineffective decision making. Costing these companies some $250 million in wages annually.

In the entrepreneurial world, these numbers would mean the end of your business.

So how can you minimize the number of bad decisions and not only increase the number of good decisions but increase the speed at which you make these decisions so you can keep up with everything else?

There is no hard answer for this one.

No magic wand or magic trick that will guarantee you make the right decisions each and every time. 

Sure there are processes to put in place such as clearly defining the issues at hand, defining your success criteria, openly debate and analyze various options, delegating the tasks to the right people quickly—but before the processes…

There are fundamentals that go above and beyond, or should I say that go before and below anything else. 

These 3 fundamentals are the building blocks of your business and should be at the very core of why you started a business in the first place.

Know your values

One of the biggest hurdle to making fast decisions is our discomfort with fear which can trigger procrastination. By pushing things further down the road, we try to avoid feeling uncomfortable in the present moment.

Although procrastination can be viewed as a positive tool to making decisions, if it allows you to take a step back and get to the root of the issues, it can also hinder your progress and keep you stuck in no-mans-land.

According to David Amerland, author of The Sniper Mind, “uncertainty is present in every decision we make. Because we are hardwired to avoid uncertainty when we encounter it we feel fear. Fear then begins to shut us down unless we take steps to counter it.”

The cure for facing fear with – somewhat – confidence and avoid passing the bucket down the line? 

Know your values.

When you have a clear understanding of the values that are at the core of who you are and what your business stands for, measure them to the potential outcome of the decision you are contemplating.

Is your decision aligned with your values?

How are the options you are contemplating aligning with what your business stands for?

Is it something that you could feel proud of because it will reflect well on you as a leader, your teams and what your business stands for?

“It doesn’t fell right in my gut” is an expression often used when decisions are out of alignement with our core values.

As the clock is ticking away and you’re analyzing the data and going over the numbers, ask yourself if your decision sits well with what you stand for.

TIP: Before you clearly define the issues at hand, take a moment to review your core values and make sure that everybody that is involved in the decision-making process agrees on the same values your business stands for. It will help guide you when things get sticky.

Understand your “why”

Understanding why you’re in business and the vision you’ve set for yourself is fundamental to making better and faster decisions.

Without it, your business looses it’s uniqueness. It looses what makes it your business.

Understanding your “why” also allows you to take bigger risks, to make decisions that may otherwise seem out of reach, to keep moving forward after hearing 100 – or 1,000 – “no”.

To quote Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do or how you do it, they buy why you do it.” 

Purpose should permeate everything you do, including your decisions.

Every decision you make should align with the purpose of your business.

The word “purpose” is a word thrown around quite often and can be seen as some woo-woo concept that makes your marketing efforts look good.

But at it’s core, your purpose is the foundation of your business, the essence of your message to your employees and your customers; it’s your reputation, your brand.

Now more than ever, people are looking to work for, represent and buy from brands and companies that have a deeper purpose.

Consequently, that purpose needs to show up in everything and all that you do as a business owner. 

Your purpose becomes your barometer agains which all decisions are measured as they all need to be aligned. 

Nothing is more confusing to employees or customers than a business whose decisions follow no clear path of meaning. 

TIP: As you look to make better and faster decisions, look at what the end result might be and if it aligns with why you’re in business. Which one of the contemplated solutions is taking you a step closer to your big vision.

Forget the present

Making a decision based on current circumstances is tempting.

It feels safe.

But it might not be in the best interest of your business.

Limiting your decisions to what is, prevents you from moving to what could be.

Some of the world’s most prominent business leaders – we’re looking at your Elon Musk – all share a common trait: they see what’s ahead before anyone else.

Meaning they must also make decisions based on what is yet unseen but could only be considered a possible theory or the deconstruction of a current reality taken as the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help you God.

To make better and faster decisions for your business, ask yourself the following question:

What’s possible?

What decisions can I make now, that will move me forward in the future in a way that is yet not seen?

Use what is known now in your industry to push it forward. 

For you business to stand out and for you to have the impact you are looking for, your decisions will inevitably have to reflect your forward-thinking processes.

The world is too competitive, the market too saturated for you to make decisions based on what is currently being done.

I challenge you to see the unseen. To do the not-yet-done.

TIP: As you sit down to debate various outcomes to your issue, I invite you to widen your circle of influence. Invite people from different backgrounds, culture, race, ethnicities, gender and life experiences. This is where diversity holds all its powerful and beautiful glory. Debating with those that have seen and lived differently will allow you to, inevitably, hopefully, see the unseen of what can be.

By focusing on these 3 fundamentals, you’ll be making better and faster decisions that will allow your business to grow and move quickly towards your bigger vision.

Your decision-making tips

What are some of your tips for better and faster decision-making?

This article is part of the Lead Yourself First Newsletter. If you like this article, feel free to subscribe and check out my coaching videos on the topics I talk about in the LYF newsletter.

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    • I fully agree with you that focus must ben directed to the right task. By getting clear and honest on what our goals are, by defining our macro and micro focus and aligning our actions accordingly and our following a focus and release technic, we are that much closer to achieving any goal.

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