As an investor, a CEO, a founder, or a team manager, the bedrock of your success is good decision making. You need to make decisions that the people under you can feel confident in, and that you can confidently justify to the people above you, whether those are executives, investors or a board of directors.
Developing a decision making process you can rely on is vital: it lets you easily get by in on your ideas, and helps you generate a track record of success that will build you a brilliant career, and an unassailable reputation. Today we’re helping you develop that process.
The first thing you need to do to make good decisions is base them on a solid foundation. Like Sherlock Holmes, you can’t make bricks without clay – you need data!
If you’re making a decision about how your company faces the world – changing your branding, launching a new advertising campaign, even a change to your returns policy! – you need data about how your consumers will react. Research market intelligence companies to find a firm you can work with to gather data about your consumers, and the state of the market you can base successful decisions on.
Otherwise, you need to gather data internally – make sure you have programmes in place to track stats for whole teams and individual employees. You need to know what’s working already, and to track the effectiveness of changes as they’re rolled out. Being able to quantify the impact of your decisions is as important as your initial data. If your changes aren’t having the effect you anticipated it proves something is wrong about the assumptions you went in with.
Get Outside Your Own Head
The most important thing you need to remember is that you’re not taking these decisions for you: you’re taking them for other people, and what holds true for you might well not be the case for the people you’re influencing.
This is most obvious when you’re working on advertising – what you find tempting and persuasive about your brand might not have the same allure for the majority of customers you’re trying to reach. That’s why you need that research – so you can be objective, rather than trying to generalise from your own, limited experience.
This even holds true when you’re taking internal decisions. Imagine you’re trying to decide what reward you an offer for the additional work needed to get a project wrapped up in good time. What motivates you might not be what motivates your team: you might be happy to put in some extra hours in exchange for some pizzas ordered in, and drinks on the company card on Friday, but if your team has got a lot of people with children at home, for example, better motivation might be to offer some additional time off.
Using what has worked and failed before to model your decisions for the future is they to making decisions you can rely on.