As the Leader of your company, your choices will determine the ultimate fate of your enterprise. There is no net underneath you. If you make a bad choice, and it is a critical choice for your company, there may be no going back. So it is essential that you are extremely careful when take big decisions like critical hires, new product development, acquisitions, divestitures, and new market entries (for example). Careful doesn’t mean slow. It means thorough. Think about the many consequences and plan accordingly. Use a whiteboard, write an email, have a conversation with a colleague but make sure you have tried to think through as many risks as possible. This is difficult to do and takes practice and will.
Engineer out emotion.
Emotions can cloud your judgments. We are all in love with our own ideas. And, whenever we negotiate with ourselves, we always win. Real life can be different and the best thing you can do is to make sure you are seeing things clearly. A good way to do that is to propose your decision and rationale to a friendly source, and then defend it. If you can’t explain what you are doing and why in simple terms and then can’t defend why it makes sense, you probably should pause and think a little more carefully.
Give yourself time to process everything.
Don’t hurry big decisions. Take the time to reflect. Utilize tools like email or staff meetings to cause yourself to clarify your thinking by expressing your rationale. Taking a time out, even for a day, to sleep on it or waiting to press send is a good means of controlling your risks. You don’t want to be remorseful because you pulled a trigger too quickly. Slowing down your sense of time can be helpful, especially if you are in a crisis.
Commit and get started!
When you do make a final decision, dive in and don’t look back. Don’t increase your risks by going half way on implementation. If you’ve thought it through, you need to give the plan a realistic shot at succeeding. Hesitation isn’t the same thing as wisdom. It’s more like chickening out. So decide, then go!