Making The Hard Decision by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

“Making The Hard Decision” | Written By: Mary Juetten, Contributor / Forbes – Entrepreneurs

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There is a natural aversion to making difficult calls that portend significant change. Perhaps it’s not exactly natural per se, but it would seem by observation to be imprinted in us psychologically to avoid having to make anything like a significant, life-altering decision. It certainly explains the prevalence of procrastination, kicking the can down the road in the hopes that circumstances, fate, or whatever force you’d like, will make a decision for us by removing our other options. Even simple decisions can be hard for people paralyzed by minds constantly churning over data and alternatives and every other consideration, again and again until they’re left making no choice at all, so fearful are they of making the wrong one. 

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Not that there isn’t some virtue in giving considerable thought to decisions, particularly major ones that could have wide-reaching implications. Just as no one wants to be (or follow) the indecisive leader, there’s little merit in being entirely cavalier and making snap decisions based on instinct or gut feeling or whatever attribute garners credit in that moment. That strategy might breed some faith if those decisions end up being right all of the time. However, should they pan out as they normally do —a mixed bag of hits and misses— it will inevitably seem based on little more than a coin flip in practice, and worse still make the leader appear to be unconcerned about any of the implications of those decisions, and by extension the project, team and company itself.

Given that dichotomy, it’s not hard to see why people are more than happy to find a way to delay decisions under the guise of “reassessing” or “revisiting” or “reevaluating” at a later date, again hoping that the decision might be made for them or that the answer will reveal itself in some new data point. But the truth is that those decisions might not ever get easier, and that delay might only serve to further muddle the process with your own second-guessing. At some point, you have to decide on a course of action, or choose between two alternatives, knowing full well that you might at that moment make what turns out to be the wrong choice. In some particularly heady cases, you might even be gambling the future of your company, though calling it gambling seems a bit glib, given how much though undoubtedly went into it. 

So how can we fight against this compulsion towards delay, this indecision and anxiety about our choices that can stop us in our tracks? I would argue the first step is understanding and accepting this as a very basic part of being a human being looking to lead others. To not have doubts or not question your judgement from time to time would suggest you’ve lost touch with the humanity that is essential in leading and making decisions. That anxiety can paralyze us if we allow it, but it can also fuel us and inform us if we use it productively to temper our thinking and insert caution and measure where necessary. 

Part of overcoming that anxiety is having a process in place to arrive at a decision and trusting in that process. It’s easy to look at results and judge our decision-making entirely upon that, but there can be so many unforeseen and unknowable variables that produce an outcome that basing decisions entirely upon prior results can prove similar to simply guessing. Process offers reason, perspective and a bit of sanity; it’s easier to live with a decision that goes wrong if we know that our reasoning was sound and based upon the best and most relevant information at the time. Even with a sound process we won’t always get it right, but we can at least be assured that we did everything we could in the effort. 

Perhaps most important in embracing the big decisions is accepting when we’re wrong and learning from those mistakes, all without any loss of willingness to make those hard choices again in the future. Failures and mistakes are a part of life, and those who are ultimately successful are those unafraid to fail, and unbowed and undeterred when that failure inevitable arrives. Others aren’t looking for perfection, and we shouldn’t look for it from ourselves either; instead, we should hope for and seek the courage to maintain belief in ourselves, and to continue trying where others might give up.#onwards.


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“Making The Hard Decision” | Written By: Mary Juetten, Contributor / Forbes – Entrepreneurs
November 19, 2019 at 07:19AM
VIEW ARTICLE ON Forbes – Entrepreneurs >> https://www.forbes.com/sites/maryjuetten/2019/11/19/making-the-hard-decision/

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