Has This Ever Happened to You?

You made a business or career decision that didn’t turn out the way you wanted or hoped for. Sometimes timing was wrong (too soon or too late); or you based it on information that was faulty (the roll-out of a new product line was mired in delays);  or you hadn’t anticipated the unintended consequences of a program change  (customers didn’t like it and went to social media to vent their frustration.)

You’re not alone. All of us have made decisions that we want to take back and do over. But that’s not always possible. Over the years, as an executive coach working with business leaders and managers, I have found that there are three common pitfalls that lead to decision making mistakes.

Which Have You Made?

1. Procrastination: “I’ll deal with that tomorrow- I’m too busy today.”
Here are some examples. You’ve waited too long and missed an opportunity that someone else took advantage of.  Or, since you dragged your feet, the decision was made for you and you’re not too pleased.

2. Impulsiveness: “Let’s just do it” which is the opposite of procrastination.
In other words you decide with your gut. At times we do have to tap into our intuition. However, to make wise decisions, we also need to have facts to substantiate our “gut.” Also we may not truly understand the ripple effects of our decisions. When something changes in one area there are effects in many other areas as well!

3.  Opinions about others: “I know they’re right; I know they’re wrong.”
People have a tendency to overestimate the importance of some individuals or groups. Because we respect and value them, we believe what they say – sometimes not questioning the facts or assumptions. The opposite is discounting certain groups or individuals and therefore underestimating their information. . This is unfortunate since they can provide a different and valuable perspective of what the issues really are.

Here’s How to Make Better Decisions:
It’s time for a pause button. Find someone, like a wise friend, colleague, mentor or coach, who will help you assess the pros, the cons as well as the possible unintended consequences of what you want to achieve for yourself or your business- where you want to go – where want your business to go. Then you can proceed with greater confidence that you’re on the right track.

Smart Moves Tip:

Most of our setbacks are not due to bad circumstances but to our bad decisions. We forget that a decision, big or small, has consequences. Therefore, make sure you are aware of your decision making habits. Do you overestimate or underestimate certain people’s input? Are you really listening to others opinions? Do you keep putting a major decision on hold afraid to make a wrong one? Do you make decisions based on relevant information and by weighing the potential consequences?

Marcia Zidle, the smart moves executive coach and speaker, is host of The Business Edge  on the Voice America Business Network. The show features the Smart Growth System providing small to medium sized businesses the proper foundation for expansion: a Growth Agenda that becomes their roadmap, a Growth Engine that attracts and engages the best talent and Growth Leaders that make it happen.  Marcia, the CEO of Leaders At All Levels, brings street smarts to help businesses get on the right track and not get sidetracked on their path to higher performance and profitability.