5 Tips to Making GREAT Decisions
I know when I first started my business, it felt like everything was urgent. Almost like if I didn’t make an instant decision, the opportunity would disappear or the problem would turn into a catastrophe. Perhaps, as health practitioners, providing answers and solving problems is something patients expect from us in quick succession. So if you feel like that’s how you need to be in business too, I don’t blame you!
In my experience coaching healthcare professionals in business, there are two categories of mindsets… Those that act without planning and those that plan without acting. They’re either like a bull at a gate or suffer from the dreaded “paralysis by analysis”. It doesn’t matter which camp you’re in, the reason you’re in either camp, is most likely because you’re succumbing to an irrational driver – either that’s fear of failure, you need dopamine hits or maybe you’re feeling like an imposter as a business owner… People think that a bit of motivation is what they need, listen to a great inspiring podcast and that’ll get them going… Really you need to
dive into some personal development… Enough about that, instead, I’ll take you through 5 strategies I use to help me make good decisions that I can take pride in.
Sleep on it
How many times have you thought about your past actions and thought, “wow in hindsight I really should have done…”. We should really be allowing this process to occur before you make a silly decision. When a potential solution pops into your head, it’s all you can think about. The pros (mainly) the cons (less so), how beautifully that solution is the puzzle piece that fixes it quickly. One night’s sleep – “hmmm, wait, that’s not the best solution..”. Your daily thoughts and feelings influence your decision making so much. Your thoughts and feelings are fleeting and ever changing. The best solutions are the ones that break through some
dissection over a period of a few solid nights of rest.
It’s not as urgent as it feels
Let’s get it done now! I don’t know about you, but once a problem or potential solution has been pointed out, it’s easy to think “wow, was this problem there the whole time without me noticing?”.. That is the point of coaching, it helps you uncover areas that are around corners you haven’t encountered before. Once you can see it, it can feel like a solution needs to be urgently implemented. Actually, it doesn’t… I know it doesn’t… Because you got to where you are right now, without even knowing it was a problem. Slow down, the best solutions are implemented slowly.
It’s probably not the only solution you have
Be open to being wrong, or knowing that someone else on your team might have a better idea. Asking your team to go away and think of a solution each, might provide you with insights about your business you didn’t even know existed, and solutions that you have never thought of on your own. Now, having a team that functions like this takes time and is built of trust, and they need to know that your workplace is a safe environment to workshop ideas, but if you have that luxury, having 5 ideas is better than just your own… Who knows, maybe after a few iterations, the best solution is the one that takes the best parts of
everyone’s solutions. Be open that you’re not always right – sadly the truth is, you’re probably not right most of the time – especially on the first round of solution ideation.
Weigh it up
Make sure you are really clear on the size of the problem first. It might even be worthwhile to ask people in your team whether they think it’s also a problem. There is no such thing as a solution for something that wasn’t seen as a problem in the first place. Once you’ve identified that you are in fact solving a problem that is seen by the majority, then ensure the solutions presented are commensurate to the size of the problem. Solving a minor problem which requires major work doesn’t seem to equate, and so, the return on investment of implementing the solution will leave you in the red with respect to time, money or energy. Weight it up, and make sure you’re spending your resources on solutions to the right
Break it up into smaller pieces
The best solutions that are implemented are the ones that you can hardly feel. Let’s say a solution requires 3-6 months of work to prepare, once it’s prepared, now it’s time to implement. The change becomes drastic and that’s a shift that your team simply can’t adjust to as quickly as you would like. They find issues with it, some resist the change, and you quickly regret doing it… “wow, it’s easier to just go back to how we were doing things before” – might enter your mind. Implementing your solutions will undoubtedly force changes.. How many changes can you make prior to the big one? Can you ramp this up in stages? Think about how you can only change one little thing at a time and do that before starting with the big one. The last piece on this, is that team members hate being blindsided by changes. Prep them. Talk about what is changing and iron out issues before they’re implemented.
Your team needs to buy into your solution the same way you did. Of course, not every single decision can be delayed. Some need to be fast and on the spot… but if you think all your decisions need to happen fast, then you’re either in crisis management or you’ve got it all wrong… breath and slow down, maybe even sleep on it… I bet you’ll see the problem and the solution a little clearer. Start there.
I hope these strategies help you as much as they help me.