How to make the decisions that will grow your business

Sep 15, 2010

On Monday we looked at the seven-word summary of how to effectively grow a business: consistently making and implementing high quality decisions, and we saw that doing so involves three stages: 1. Investigation, 2. Interpretation and 3. Implementation.Yesterday I explained that when it comes to the first area (Investigation), the three most common weaknesses I see in business managers and leaders are usually one of Intellectual Rigor, Financial Understanding or Embracing External Change.

Today I want to share the three challenges I see leaders struggle with most in the area of Interpretation. You’ll recall that this is the stage after Investigation (the gathering of data), and involves interpreting that data to arrive at the actual core decision.

The three areas I see leaders struggle with most are:

1. Stamina

By this I mean developing the mental, physical and emotional strength to concentrate for prolonged periods on the detail of both decision-making and implementation.

Most leaders I know can do two out of three – they perhaps have mental and physical stamina, but emotionally they tire easily. Or they are strong physically and emotionally, but struggle to stay alert mentally. Or they are strong mentally and emotionally, but physically they fade quickly.

Which are you?

2. Discipline

Discipline is different from stamina. It means maintaining focus on, and commitment to a course of action until it is completed.

Someone can have all the stamina in the world, but flit from this issue to that, never really focussing their stamina in a disciplined way. Conversely, someone else may be incredibly disciplined, staying focussed and on point, but quickly run out of mental, physical or emotional gas.

In a leader the combination of stamina and focus is incredibly powerful.

3. Objectivity

Finally, to effectively grow your business it is vital to base decisions solely on the appraisal of the relevant facts, without undue consideration of personal prejudices.

Many leaders I see are strong on stamina and discipline, but in the Interpretation phase – when it comes to making the final decision – make the mistake of trusting their gut when (simply put) the complexity of the business has become such that their gut is no longer in possession of enough salient data.

Or they are so deeply in thrall to personal prejudices that no matter what the data says, they cannot overcome them.

Like I say, most of us are good at two of these three areas and poor in one (if we were poor in two or three, well, we wouldn’t be here talking now, would we?).

Which of Stamina, Discipline or Objectivity do you need to work on?