Making decisions is the bedrock of success in business. Whether you’re a start-up founder, a CEO or managing a team, the meat of your data is taking the time to understand a situation fully, before taking the decisions that will create the most advantage for the business at the least cost.
Decision making is a skill – you need to learn to recognise pitfalls like short termism, false economies and the traps set by your own ego to pursue glory at the expense of actual results, and cultivate your ability to make cool, dispassionate and ultimately effective choices.
Today we’re looking at the craft that leads to those good decisions, to help you hone your own choice taking talents.
When you have a big choice to make, you need to start gathering data right away – ideally you have processes in place to gather and interpret data all the time, so it’s ready for you to consult when you need insight into your business’ performance and your customer habits.
Working with market research agencies let’s you prepare brand track surveys to see how the strength and visibility of your brand fluctuates over time in response to your own campaigns and conditions beyond your control.
It’s as important to use data to check the results of your past decisions as it is to inform future choices. If you don’t look back and assess whether your choices have lead to the results you want, you don’t know whether you’re actually doing the right thing, and can never change it if you’re not.
A Clear Head
Business decisions can become increasingly personal – if you’re running a business, you’re thinking about it all the time, and its success and failure become synonymous with your self-worth. This makes it difficult for you to be objective. You can become too invested in the potential success of one of your decisions and lean in further and further even as it becomes clear to anyone else that it’s destined for failure.
Try to find a peer you trust to be a sounding board. If they’re totally outside the reporting structure of your business, there’s no power games to be played: they’re just a friend with the confidence and nous to tell you when you’re wrong, to stop you taking a jump off the deep end when times get difficult.
With good data and trusted sounding board to work with, your decisions will be set for success, not leading you down the wrong track.