Last evening while reading the book I’d purchased on Civil War battles the enormity of the decision making these generals had to make occurred to me. It must have weighed on them heavily. We view the decisions of generals to delay or attack and fail to grasp the gravity of the situation. Each decision they made would lead to deaths. A decision to delay or dig in, while easily second guessed today, easily might have been that general’s effort to reduce the burden of killing more soldiers.
In business we may feel as if we are about to do detrimental damage to our company, however we certainly don’t face the fear of actually sending someone to their death.
Several of my clients were in the military and they point to a principal that is taught there that lends itself to good business decision making. Being decisive always results in less loss of life. The decision to attack, retreat, or defend will always provide a result less costly than no decision at all. Being decisive makes the difference. Indecision costs lives, and so too does it cost us money, confidence and respect in our businesses.
In Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, Verne Harnish points out that the two most critical factors for leadership are forecasting and delegating. Both of these are decision making tools.
Frequently as a leader we are called upon to make decisions for our business. It might be when to invest money in marketing, when to hire or fire, or purchase new machinery or technology. It might be to expand or contract. Decision making in any of these areas is critical to growing your business. Do you as a leader appear decisive? Do you vacillate and spend too much time over analyzing to the point you encounter the paralysis of analysis?
The important issue to learn here is not to fear decision, but to fear indecision. A number of years ago a good friend of mine provided me with an article about decision making that enlightened me about the value of simply making a choice. The article noted that most decision aren’t good or bad. Few decisions result in a dramatic outcome simply on the basis of the decision. Rather the overwhelming majority of decisions are good or bad as a result of what you do after you make the decision.
As the military knows the most important aspect of decision making is to make a decision. Let your yes be yes and your no be no, is the old proverb. As you face decisions as you move through the remainder of 2008 and into 2009 realize that to be decisive is to be proactive and assertive. Just saying, “I’ve decided to” brings with it a great feeling of confidence and self assuredness.
Determine to be decisive. Set deadlines for making decisions and then don’t waffle, move forward in the direction of your dreams and you will encounter forces that help propel you toward your vision of the future.