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Have you ever had to make a decision that was so monumental that you were nearly paralyzed with fear? If the answer is yes, don’t feel bad. You are definitely not alone. One of the hardest parts of being an EntreLeader is making those tough calls, especially when you know that whatever you decide affects others around you.
In fact, Dave says fear is the ultimate cause of paralysis. Still, he never makes decisions based on it. Instead, he has a system that allows him to make the tough calls. As Dave teaches in EntreLeadership Master Series Lesson 18, elements of good decision-making include these five steps.
1. Setting a Deadline
Come on. You know you’ve done it. You put off making that tough decision by simply justifying your procrastination. I can’t decide until my office is clean. Who can think in a dirty office? Combat the “put-off” syndrome by giving yourself a deadline and placing it on your calendar. It will force you to deal with whatever is happening.
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2. Taking Your Time
This may seem odd since we just told you not to procrastinate, but part of making good choices is taking your time on monumental decisions. How do you know if the decision is big?
Dave says measure it by:
- The amount of money involved
- The amount of time involved as the result of the decision
- The number of people involved.
The more of the above, the more you should reflect on your decision. What about the small choices? Those decisions should be almost instantaneous. Don’t waste time on the inconsequential.
3. Gathering Options
Remember that famous line from Dirty Dancing? “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” Well, by giving yourself a number of options, you can be as corner-free as Jennifer Grey. Options take away a lot of the fear of making the wrong choices. If something doesn’t work, plan B is always available.
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4. Gathering Information
The late British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said, “The most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.” And when it comes to decision-making, we agree. The more information you have, the easier it is to recognize the best choice. As Dave says, “Information removes fear.”
5. Avoiding Financial Risks
When making a decision, Dave always asks himself and his team if the company can handle the financial hit if everything goes south. In fact, when an idea is launched, it must meet the following financial criteria.
- If the product fails, the consequences can’t be financially fatal.
- No money can be borrowed to launch the product.
To become a true EntreLeader, you must be able to make decisions. By having the right elements in place, the process is much, much easier. Fear tends to melt away. As with anything, there’s no guarantee you won’t make a mistake. But instead of killing your business, you can chalk it up to a “lesson learned.”
Want to learn more decision-making elements? Download the latest EntreLeadership podcast to hear Dave’s advice on the subject. Also featured is an interview with one of Dave’s favorite authors, Jim Collins. Jim has written extensively on leadership, including making those tough calls.