Jim's Marketing Blog

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Decision Making: You can’t procrastinate your way to success

Here’s a great tip, to help you manage your time better and make more progress with your business than ever before.


Decision time

Delaying decisions is a key source of lost time, lost opportunities and increased stress. It’s hard to get things done, when it takes you weeks or months to make a decision, which could and should have been made in a day or so. These delays also place you at a huge commercial disadvantage, compared to your more agile competitors.

It’s important at this point to dismiss the fallacy that we must dither for weeks before making important business decisions. I have worked with and studied countless successful business owners over the years and all of them were great at making good decisions, in reasonable time. The key phrase there is ‘reasonable time’. No one  would suggest making decisions before you have access to the information you need or before you have had the expert advice you need.

The decision making process I see time and again in the most successful business owners, looks something like this:

  1. They get the information they need.
  2. If required, they then speak to someone who has the expert knowledge they need.
  3. Next, they evaluate their options.
  4. Finally, they make their decision and back it up with action.

The challenge usually kicks in at point number 3

Poor decision makers stall when they reach that third point. They evaluate their options for so long, that they waste days, weeks and sometimes years worth of progress. Their fear of making a bad decision stops them making any decision. They become victims of paralysis by analysis. They end up with lots of unfinished projects, missed opportunities and wasted potential.

This creates another problem. It’s something I call mind fog – an inability to think clearly because there are so many unfinished decisions fogging up your mind. I help people gain clarity every day and assure you, when you remove the fog, everything improves.

As business owners, it’s impossible to make much progress if we allow our momentum to stall, at the exact point where we need to make a decision. Look at the decisions you are currently stalling on and ask yourself why. If you need more information, get the information and then make a decision. If you are stalling through fear of getting it wrong, consider the overall cost of stalling for another day, week or year.

It’s no coincidence that every successful business owner is also a good decision maker. After all, we can not procrastinate our way to the top.

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  1. Important topic, Jim! Not moving on with decisions is one of the biggest ‘idea and success killers’ for business owners.

    It’s part of a bigger problem: trying to be perfect. There’s a huge misconception that we could and should prepare things so well that they are guaranteed to work.

    That would be a great approach if it was at all possible – but it is not. We frequently find that the market won’t do what we expected.

    The only solution I know of is the ‘Ready – Fire – Aim’ approach.

    If we just can feel comfortable to put our ideas out in the world withoug being safe, then we’d get super fast feedback and could improve our work based on that. We’ll get better results in less time compared to pondering our options.

    The same approach helps with decision making. The point of a good decision is NOT to make the ‘right’ or ‘best’ or ‘perfect’ decision. The point of any decision should be to get moving quickly and later adjust based on how it works out.

    Easier posted than done, though, I’m surely one of the biggest procrastinators in the know universe. Who else has an array of hard disks with unfinished projects? :-)

    • Thanks for such a well thought out comment, Ralf.

      Like you say, easier posted than done. Some never even get around to posting part.

      It’s a tough mindset to shift way from, but in my experience, it’s essential to become a good decision maker, if you want to achieve anything.

  2. Powerful post Jim. Procrastination is such a killer! There is no time like right now to make decisions.

  3. The ability to make a decision is so much more valuable ion business, than the need to be perfect.

    We can’t be perfect. None of us can. We can be a decision maker.

    Just takes a decision 😉

    Thanks for a great post mate!

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