The Gift Of A Difficult Decision

Depending on your tolerance for risk, most of us avoid difficult decisions because we fear that making the “wrong” decision will have negative consequences (that must be why I found 52,100,000 answers when I Googled “difficult decisions”). Negative consequences are always possible in an imperfect world, but we miss the opportunity that is presented to us.

To reduce your risk of making a poor decision, with some qualifications for timing and degree of difficulty, you can utilize the following:

  • Turn off outside noise and allow yourself the opportunity to think clearly– “chance favors only the prepared mind,” as Louis Pasteur said.
  • Employ the “Janus View” – the historical review of what has led to the decision point, other related decisions you have made along the way, your current state and stakeholders, as well as potential outcome scenarios.
  • Consider how your behavior, and that of others that you enlist as allies, can increase the effectiveness of your decision as it is implemented.
  • Seek out counsel as you consider your options- this is often the opportunity that is rejected, leading to unnecessary damage for many.
  • Look at what you are trying to accomplish rather than what you have to endure

Accomplished leaders incorporate the above, but also see a difficult decision as a gift – as Peter Drucker noted many years ago, “When you see a successful business, someone has made a courageous decision.” These leaders often reflect that:

  • Difficult decisions can provide an opportunity to look at the “bigger picture” and make other performance-improving changes at the same time.
  • Difficult decisions often increase organizational flexibility and increase options for company growth in the future.
  • Difficult decisions, when made thoughtfully (not perfectly), generally enhance the executive’s sense of confidence and respect, both internally and externally.
  • When approached honestly and consideration for all stakeholders, difficult decisions can encourage a culture of individual support and nurture creative action.

Simply said, difficult decisions can be very good for business.