Northwind Pharmaceuticals

The Invigorating Power of Decisiveness

“There is nyes decisionothing like a decision to inject direction and momentum.”

Choices. We face them every day. Doorways to the possible. Why are they scary? Because they represent change and risk. I’m not talking about “what-outfit-to-wear-today” kind of decisions. Nope. I’m referring to the “put your big boy pants on” kind of decision. Gamechangers.

When faced with a major decision, the natural instinct is to gather data and analyze it. The more data, the better the decision, right? The good news is that everyone now has access to more data than ever (thank you Google!). The bad news is that everyone now has access to more data than ever and it is exponentially easier to fall into “analysis paralysis”. Indecisiveness is dangerous for a number of reasons:

  • It creates missed opportunities.
  • It erodes confidence from subordinates or teammates which can cause them to doubt your other decisions.
  • It slows the organization down.
  • It presents opportunities for the competition.
  • It causes stress.
  • It feeds self-doubt – the most dangerous result of all.

Now, think of a time when you made a big decision. Perhaps you went through some of the steps above but you were able to push past and make the call. How did it feel? Like any challenge, there is satisfaction in completing the process. But there is also something else. There is power in decisiveness. It’s like lighting a fuse; once it’s lit, things start to happen. Decisiveness is one of the gateways to momentum. Let’s walk through it:

  1. You’re faced with a big decision. There is risk to it and anxiety sets-in.
  2. You gather data and analyze your options. You seek outside input – often, this only confuses the issues. You seek more data.
  3. Your analytical mind runs wild with “what-ifs”. You try to anticipate possible outcomes looking for some clear indicator of the right direction.
  4. Something clicks. Instinct, inspiration, a good breakfast…who knows? For some reason, you feel a tug in a particular direction. You make the decision.
  5. BAM! The decision weight is lifted. The burden of the unknown floats away. You now KNOW what direction you’re headed. You communicate your decision.
  6. Things now move into execution mode. ACTION! There is clarity in action. Energy in doing. You know it and your team knows it. Good decision, bad decision – no matter. You are Moving!
  7. Momentum builds as you, your team and any other stakeholders respond to your decision. Now we know. Now we can act. Now we can adjust.
  8. New information, conditions, feedback appears. You make adjustments. Change your mind. Evolve your decision. Redirect your team. Life goes on.
  9. Repeat.

Decisiveness is POWERFUL. Like courage, it is feeling the fear and doing it anyway. It is critical for your team. It is more critical for you. Decisiveness and confidence are tied together in a virtuous loop. They feed each other. Interestingly enough, even “bad” decisions can build confidence. How? By making a call, living with the consequences, learning and pushing through – overcoming a bad decision may be more powerful than making the right one to begin with because now you know you can survive it.

And guess what? You will make bad decisions. Yep. It’s just part of being human and imperfect. Know it will happen and push forward anyway. Your team will love you for it and you will grow from it.

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