As a sales leader, you probably make thousands of decisions a year that affect you and your business. From time to time, you are faced with that one decision that has a long-lasting and significant impact to your success.
Not only must you weigh the pro’s and cons of each choice, you have to live with the results. It is important to recognize and accept (without blame or shame) that mistakes occur.
Can it be stressful? You bet!
Some of the most common challenges include; focusing on symptoms instead of problem, no clear picture of the desired outcome, or becoming fixated on only one option.
Here are some quick strategies that have helped me make better business decisions, and be comfortable with the outcome.
- Define the Problem
Understand the actual problem by examining all issues and getting input from all parties involved. Summarize the problem as clearly and simply as possible without using technical jargon.
- Identify the Desired Outcome
Before you consider the route to get there know exactly what you want to see happen, including goals and objectives. Review all of the implications to you, your business, and other stakeholders.
- Establish Boundaries
Gauge ideas that might work within your safe zone. That is, within the goals, objectives and constraints of your business. Your boundaries establish the context for which alternative solutions can be considered.
- Determine Alternative Solutions
Choose a minimum of three possible solutions for one business problem by brainstorming ideas. The best way is to have an open session where all ideas are tossed into the ring—no judgment. Try to refrain from implementation thinking and focus on solution alternatives.
- Create the Evaluation Standards
Be clear on what is important by creating a list of criteria and priorities. Develop the decision-making process that works best for you and your organization. Confirm that the approach fits within your established guidelines and other criteria as needed.
- Go for It
Choose one solution to execute and allow time for it to work.
- Evaluate Results
Review the results and decide if the solution has been successful. If a satisfactory result has not been achieved, revisit and rethink the solution. Fine-tune as necessary until the desired outcome is achieved.
There is no magic bullet that works all the time. Decision-making is a challenge, especially in complex situations and environments. Developing a clearly-defined, consistently-applied approach is the key to making better business decisions.