How Business Leaders Can Streamline Decision Making

Direction Intersection Decision Option Chance ConceptBusiness owners are flooded with decisions to make on a day-to-day, minute-by-minute basis. Some of these decisions include things like who to hire, whether or not someone should be fired, when to add or retire new products or services, or even decisions as innocuous as what to have for lunch.

I came across a great article in Forbes that outlined some of the strategies that the most effective decision-makers use in order to free up their time for the more important decisions. One of the tips that was provided was to try and turn your small decisions into routines. The article referenced how Steve Jobs never had to decide what he was going to wear to work on any given day – it was always his iconic black turtleneck. Decision made. This strategy allows you to free up more time not only for concentrating on the higher level decisions, but to enjoy your life a little more outside of work.

The tip that really caught my attention had to do with evaluating your options objectively when making decision. I run into this all the time with small business owners when working with them to make sound financial business decisions. The difficulty arises oftentimes because they are in their business for both personal and professional reasons. Sometimes it’s difficult to separate the two and make good decisions because there is a less-than-clear line between one’s emotional tie to their business and their desire to be profitable.

As Donald Trump used to say on his reality show, The Apprentice, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” This is often very difficult to remember because when it comes right down to it, we’re people running businesses and we oftentimes lean on our personal feelings and emotions rather than what makes sound business sense. There were a few really good questions that the article  posed that perhaps you’d like to consider next time you’re faced with a big decision, that takes the “personal” part of the equation into consideration without letting it completely overtake the “business” considerations. They include:

  1. How will this decision benefit me/the people in the company/the company itself?
  2. How will this decision hurt me/the people in the company/the company itself?
  3. Would I regret making this decision?
  4. Would I regret not making this decision?
  5. Does this decision reflect my values?

Seeking outside opinions and advice from people who could offer different perspectives on your situation is another great way to move through the decision-making process.  I encourage you to determine how you can routinize some of your daily decisions and ask yourself some of the questions, above, when you need to make some of the bigger ones. I’d welcome your feedback and insights on how this is working for you.

Written by

Rick Arthur is a CFO whose expertise is built on Financial Intelligence and 35 years in senior financial roles. Coupled with a CEO’s perspective and the experience of building his own $20 million company, he brings a unique depth of insight into business from the top down. Wired to get to know people, Rick works hand-in-hand with business owners of intentional, growth-oriented companies, solidifying relationships as a trusted advisor and confidant to his clients. He leverages his experience to help business owners gain traction and stay laser-focused on the company’s vision, cash flow, and profitability – all while creating big picture solutions for strategic planning, growth and sustainable success.