Making decisions is difficult. Making good decisions can be downright gut wrenching, especially when you’re an innovator or inventor and there’s no road map to go by.
Every decision we make as a business owner has an impact, so why not make the best decision possible for the highest impact?
Here’s a checklist of the 10 questions I’ve put together for myself, and my team, to help us be consistent in making better decisions:
1) Have you carefully considered how this decision supports your strategy?
- Refer back to your business plan to see if the decision detours away from your core strategy. If it does, rethink it.
2) Have you compared your business practices to the highest standards in your industry?
- For different businesses they will vary of course, but for my EarthKind® business, I always need to reference EPA, RMA’s, GAPP, SEO, etc.
3) Have you considered all the options?
- Never take the first option, always pick three before deciding—contracts, vendors, staffing, etc., one option is not enough. When you begin to compare different options you will notice you make different decisions.
4) Have you tested this idea in a reliable way?
- Never underestimate the importance of background checks, references, social checks, industry checks. It’s better to flush out any potential problems before committing to a final decision.
5) Will this decision be a good in a month? a year?
- Think: Integrity, ethical standards, profitability, social capital, the short and long term implications of the decision need to be in line.
6) Have you looked at the impact the decision will have on all stakeholders?
- Remember while you may be alone in making the decision, the outcome could effect a wide number of people—customers, employees, suppliers, vendors, partners—even the industry you work in.
7) Have you asked, “What variables must be true for this to be the best choice?
- Refer to your business model, your company culture, your company mission, your core values. For EarthKind® it has to work with our core mission of “Business with purpose” and so:
We THINK with purpose by making customer driven innovation a top
We ACT with purpose by focusing on the things that matter most for our brand, and customers
We GROW with purpose by creating healthy and harmonious business practices and products for homes everywhere
8) Have you discussed this decision with trusted advisors?
- My go to people are my coach, my business advisors, my peer WPO group or EY (Winning Women with specific business experience). It’s important to have a group of trusted advisors to give you perspective, a different point of view and a second opinion.
9) Is this decision supported by both your reflective analysis and intuition?
- The best decisions are a good balance of both; for me it’s usually 70/30. But if I go against my gut instinct it often turns out to be the wrong decision. That’s because the brain uses a combination of logic and emotion when making decisions of any kind. We possess the capacity to feel, and thereby the ability to know things without consciously reasoning. The "gut feeling" is real, so use it.
10) How will you cascade the communication around the decision?
- The cascading effect requires more than you as CEO simply stating your decision and issuing a list of instructions. Managers at each level need to translate the information and get their teams on board. They need to communicate in a way that makes sense to everyone.
I hope some of these steps will work for you. Let me know how you make your high impact decisions.