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The 5 Habits of Highly Effective Decision-Makers

Out of all the skills needed to become a successful EntreLeader, being able to make tough decisions is one of the most critical. As Dave teaches in Lesson 18 of EntreLeadership Master Series, passivity is not an option in business. Your company, ideas or team will be paralyzed by your failure to pull the trigger.

So how do you make those tough calls? Just like in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People—hats off to Stephen R. Covey—great decision-makers have some excellent traits in common. They include:

1. Setting Dates

One of the biggest enemies of making a tough call is procrastination. Great decision-makers live by the calendar. They take the time—no matter how busy they are—to set an actual or self-imposed deadline for every big decision, or they let their assistant know about it so that person can do the same. No excuses allowed!

2. Getting the Facts

Information may be the oxygen of the modern age, as the late Ronald Reagan said, but it’s also the lifeline of your business. Successful EntreLeaders get into the practice of doing their homework, research-wise. The more facts they have, the easier and less scary it is to make a decision. Part of gathering the information may also involve getting the opinions of others, like industry experts or a spouse.

3. Always Looking Both Ways

Sometimes it’s good to be a pessimist. Well, at least when it comes to making decisions. For the big choices, those who easily tackle tough calls make a habit of asking themselves, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” When that question is answered, the decision is practically already made. “Once I know that I am not going to die from making this call—even if I am wrong—it releases me to make the call,” Dave says.

4. Acting Golden

When trying to make a hard choice, decision-makers let their guiding values rule the day. They don’t decide in favor of something that goes against their basic principles or harms their integrity. For many, it can be as simple as following the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

5. Writing Reports

Remember the old movies where a girl is trying to decide if she’ll marry her sweetheart, and she lists his pros and cons on a piece of paper? Sure, it’s hokey, but it is also an excellent idea. When really stuck, decision-makers write a report on the issue. Putting anything down on paper helps clarify the situation and makes you think on a different level.

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Part of making decisions, whether easy or tough, involves screwing up sometimes. It’s just the nature of business. Make the calls. Taking action sets you free. Passivity ends up qualifying you for the stressed-out-business-person-of-the-year award. Which do you choose?

To learn more about properly pulling the trigger, download our latest EntreLeadership podcast, which includes a lesson from Dave on the easier way to make hard decisions. Also included is a special interview with best-selling business author Jim Collins, who talks to host Chris LoCurto on making the call.

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