Make Better Business Decisions

Better Business Decisions

Make Better Business Decisions

If you want to make better business decisions then start by making good choices. Understanding the difference between choices and decisions will have a huge impact on your future in business. You might argue that they are the same thing, only different, but look at the following list of words.

 

suicide

homicide

genocide

pesticide

decide

 

Do you see the word decide differently now? Basically it means to kill off all other options until there is only one left. It’s a process of deletion. I prefer to make choices, which is to select the option I prefer the most. The one that is the best fit for me.

When you decide it can eliminate your best option because of any number of reasons. A few examples: I don’t know how to do it yet, it’s seems too challenging, I can’t afford it right now, another other option seems easier, or perhaps somebody else won’t play along.

Barry M. Staw, a researcher and professor at the University of California – Berkley said:
“In terms of decision style, most people fall short of the creative ideal … unless they are held accountable for their decision-making strategies, they tend to find the easy way out …” This is another way of saying that not making choices first and being accountable to them will have negative impacts on entrepreneurs’ ability to make better business decisions.

Deciding often leads to settling for good enough. Making choices is clearly going after the results you really want.

They can be more difficult to make and take more time to achieve, but making choices is well worth the effort in the long run. Making your choice first allows you to make better business decisions as the process evolves. What you should or shouldn’t be doing becomes much easier to assess.

Here’s a good one. If you own a company, can you really decide to be profitable?
With a challenge like that it’s almost impossible to delete your way to success.

Making Choices

Most business-people prefer to be profitable. Running a company is much easier that way. You can choose to earn a ten percent net profit next year. That means some decisions and actions are going to cascade from your choice.  A good place to start might be to learn more about your company’s bookkeeping and financial information systems. That way you’ll be able to monitor your progress and make the necessary adjustments. It’s almost impossible to evaluate the steps you’re taking towards your choice if you don’t have good feedback to guide you along the way. Developing solid financial information systems is the number one activity for creating long term profitability.

Choices lead to better business decisions

Once you’ve made your choice look for ways to bring it into reality. Keep taking action towards it, get your feedback and adjust. Quite often there is a learning curve involved. Almost without exception you’ll need to ‘drill into it’ which is another way of saying that you might not get the results straight away. The success you really want is often hidden in a maze of detours that lead to almost good enough and nowhere near.

Sometimes people don’t keep at it and they begin to think they should make a better business decision and walk away before they discover the solution, but if you’ve made your choice you’ll “drill baby drill.” I don’t normally repeat Sarah Palin quotes, I prefer to quote my daughter. She put up a poster in her room that read: “If you want it bad enough you’ll find a way, if not you’ll find excuses.” It’s working out quite well for her.

To me the quote implies that a clear choice has been made and the stage is set for you to make better business decisions. Focus on your choice of destinations, ignore the tangled detours and work the problems to find solutions. Trust me: there will be problems. If there aren’t – then the chances are good that your road will be overcrowded with competitors. Even if you don’t have all the answers yet. know that the solutions are ahead when you’ve made a genuine choice and you’re prepared to work for it.

It also pays dividends to find somebody who’s done it before and connect with them. It could be a business coach, consultant or mentor. Somebody who’s familiar with the journey you’re on and who has been further down the road and worked through the problems before. They can help you to make better business decisions just by showing you both what mistakes to avoid and what you need to focus on.

If you choose to build a strong company our Company Strength Program shows the way.

From the book: ROCK SOLID – How to Strengthen Your CompanyMake Better Business Decisions

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  • Doris Woodman-McMillan

    Our company is 14 years old. I chose to start a business in 1999, and remind myself that I have chosen to be self-employed. Choices are very important, and remembering that you have a choice.

    Business has been tough, the market has been tough, but that means there are opportunities to stand apart from the crowd! We have seen many of our customers struggling over the past 5 years, and it has not been an easy market. Some have chosen to change their offerings, and that has made it possible for them to stay in business.

    Thank you for the reminder of the difference between choice and decision. Choices is a far better way to look at what you do. It means you still maintain control of the direction you’re going. It also means you have the responsibility to make it happen!

    • That’s cool post Doris and congrats on being in business so long!

  • Pingback: Monthly Motivation for Selling Your Business 01.14 - Synergy Business Services()

  • robcoulthardjiuk .

    Thanks for this I really enjoyed the simplicity and well articulated discussion. We assess the value based judgement capacity of individuals and groups and your discussion and work has clear intervention links to our work. I would love to talk more. Best wishes. Rob Coulthard. MD Judgement Index UK Ltd

  • Dawn Howard Weaver

    Hi John,

    I love your daughter’s quote! I agree, if you don’t have a clear choice made then so many other choices seem to jump right into the middle of your path and confuse and entice you. Once we make a choice the path seems to become clear and the peripheral view cloudy.

    Thank you for this – very wise daughter you have.

    Dawn

  • Tricia Sutton

    Nicely put. I like to say “You have Choices. You may not always like the choices you have, but you do have choices.” The concept of your choices leading decisions is important. For example, choosing to do nothing can lead to a decision by default and it may not be one in your best interest.

    This approach can be enhanced by incorporating a concept in science called “multiple working hypotheses” (note 1) or in lean development called “set-based development” (note 2) that can apply to most aspects of life. The methods are closely related and involve having a set of concepts that you work through. You don’t pick one, rather you focus on evaluating the group of ideas and eliminating ones that don’t meet your needs / criteria / set of requirements, then you refine or combine ones that meet most or some. Repeat! Your set gradually narrows and you make your choice at the latest point you need to make a decision.

    No matter how short or long of a time you have to make the decision, the choice you make will address at least some your needs and interests. You end up with better and faster decisions because you don’t spend the time and rework involved in starting over when you decide without considering the options and it fails.

    Notes:
    1. T.C. Chamberlain. Science. 1890 see: http://arti.vub.ac.be/cursus/2005-2006/mwo/chamberlin1890science.pdf
    2. Durward K. Sobek, Allen C. Ward, Jeffrey k. Liker “Toyota’s Principle of Set-Based Concurrent Engineering” Sloan Management Review 1999

  • Tricia Sutton

    Nicely put. I like to say “You have Choices. You may not always like the choices you have, but you do have choices.” The concept of your choices leading decisions is important. For example, choosing to do nothing can lead to a decision by default and it may not be one in your best interest.

    This approach can be enhanced by incorporating a concept in science called “multiple working hypotheses” (note 1) or in lean development called “set-based development” (note 2) that can apply to most aspects of life. The methods are closely related and involve having a set of concepts that you work through. You don’t pick one, rather you focus on evaluating the group of ideas and eliminating ones that don’t meet your needs / criteria / set of requirements, then you refine or combine ones that meet most or some. Repeat! Your set gradually narrows and you make your choice at the latest point you need to make a decision.

    No matter how short or long of a time you have to make the decision, the choice you make will address at least some your needs and interests. You end up with better and faster decisions because you don’t spend the time and rework involved in starting over when you decide without considering the options and it fails.

    Notes:
    1. T.C. Chamberlain. Science. 1890 see: http://arti.vub.ac.be/cursus/2005-2006/mwo/chamberlin1890science.pdf
    2. Durward K. Sobek, Allen C. Ward, Jeffrey k. Liker “Toyota’s Principle of Set-Based Concurrent Engineering” Sloan Management Review 1999

  • eula biezen

    Great article. I love the contents. just one suggestion: keep it short.
    Real short. Like 3 paragraphs short.
    there is information overload out there, and its competing with your article