Have you ever made a decision under pressure and found it wasn’t so great? I’m sure we’ve all done that at one point or another. Has this dented your confidence or eroded your ability to trust your own decision-making in any way?
At FP Advance we learnt a really valuable lesson from a poor decision we made under pressure and it’s wised us up ever since.
As readers of this blog will know we love (use and recommend) a lot of the business management processes from Traction by Gino Wickman. We had used a one-page business-planning approach for many years, so when we saw the business planning stuff in Traction we easily modified our approach to theirs, as it tied in with some of their other great management tools (such as the Level 10 Meeting Process).
But back to our lesson.
A few years ago my wife Deb was doing a long stay in New York (three months) and I was back and forth between London and New York. We eventually caught up to do our quarterly business planning review day (which we do religiously) in Deb’s AirBnB apartment on the Lower East Side.
One of our objectives for this particular quarter had been to develop a workshop, which we would run in the next quarter. However, about a month into our 90-day cycle we had decided to cancel the workshop planning, as we were overloaded and under some pressure on other important goals.
If you follow the Traction approach you’ll know that you set between 3 to 7 goals each quarter that really get your focus. From memory we had 4 goals that quarter and dropped one of them (the workshop).
As we did our quarterly review, we realised we had made a big mistake by dropping that goal. We had made the decision on the fly, in a bad week or two where we were under a lot of pressure on some other deadlines.
What we realised was that in the quiet time of our quarterly planning day three months earlier, we had made a good decision to run the workshop and pursue the other three quarterly objectives. In the heat of battle, we had made a quick fire, under-pressure, ill-considered decision to cancel it.
We decided then and there to get the workshop back on the agenda and pulled it together and delivered it in six weeks. I’m pretty sure our FP Advance community knew none of this behind-the-scenes palava.
So here’s the lesson. It hit us like a blinding light between the eyes:
When we take the quiet time, we make good decisions that we can trust.
I know it sounds completely obvious, but we learnt that our decision making is sound at our annual business planning days and at our quarterly review days. It was a huge boost to our confidence that we could trust what we decided and follow through on it.
Good decision making
Here are a few things for you to consider:
Do you take the time out to construct a well considered business plan every year?
Is it brief and focused (one page) so it remains useable throughout the year by all members of the team?
Do you refer to it regularly (weekly or monthly) to ensure you are focused on the important (not just the urgent that can crowd your thinking in the heat of battle)?
Can you (do you) trust your thinking on these planning days?
Have you also made spur of the moment ill-considered changes to your plans that have not served you well (when you look with hindsight)?
What can you do to avoid this trap in the future?
The real issue here is setting objectives that will make a difference to your business’s future and following through on them.
It’s all too easy to get pulled off course. And for those of you operating without a business plan and clear objectives, how do you even know if you are on course or not?
There is a huge difference between working on what’s important and just dealing with what’s urgent. Clear objectives and a sound process that you can learn to trust are one way of helping you stay on track through all weathers.
If you work on the things that will make your business better in 6-12 months time, you end up with a better business that resembles the vision you have always had for it. If you just do what seems important today you can find yourself falling into the Fake Busy trap that I’ve written about previously.
Trust Your Thinking
Having confidence in what you choose is a vital skill for any business owner. You don’t need to make snap decisions to achieve your goals