Shades of Grey

The world is filled with grey. There is very little black and white. Jack Welch, the much-celebrated former CEO of GE, looked for people with a trait he called ‘edge’ – the courage to make tough yes-or-no decisions.

Look, anyone can look at an issue from every angle. Smart people can get stuck in analysis paralysis. But effective business owners know when to stop assessing something and make a tough call, even without total information.

 Sometimes, seeing too many options holds you back from taking action. Other times, incomplete information makes you procrastinate and tell yourself you’ll look at it next month but you can’t make a decision now. Indecisiveness will keep a practice in limbo, never moving forward, and that is a fatal flaw.

I have a couple of view points that will help.

On not having all the information; First of all, realise you will never have all the information. You can’t see into the future. You can’t control other people. There are far more things completely outside of your control than there are things you can control. Just accept that fact and focus on what you CAN control. One of the biggest things you can control is what you choose to think, your decisions and your actions.

In a Q&A session I did with Bromptons CEO Will Butler-Adams, I asked him how he dealt with the uncertainty of Brexit given the fact the fact he is running a global business that operates in so many different markets and countries. His answer was he always looks at the worst-case scenario. He assesses where they are at risk and what preventative measures they can take. And then he decides on their plan and gets on with it. No endless analysis and inertia for Will.

Always ask yourself, what is the worst-case scenario.

 Analysing that perspective will help you come to the realisation that you usually have far more to lose by doing nothing or delaying than you do by acting.

You can and should also develop your staff’s decision-making muscles. If every decision in your practice has to go through you, you are simultaneously making yourself a slave to your business and limiting its growth potential. Teach your team to make smart decisions in the way you want them made by agreeing on your company values and culture that drive everything you do.

Stop pretending that you have all the answers. I don’t. You don’t. Nobody does. Instead show your team how it is possible to assess any situation and make the best possible decision with the information you have. Action beats inaction.