The Secret To Making Great Business Decisions When You're Clueless.

The proof you're looking for doesn't exist. Rock solid, guaranteed, "won't fail" proof -- it's not out there. As a business leader, if you wait to make a decision until you know you're right, you're usually making the wrong decision. To be successful, you have to develop the habit of trusting your instincts.

You won't always be right.

That's a certainty that you need to get used to. Despite insurmountable proof, you won't always be able to make a decision that turns into the results you want.

That's because proof is based on history not on reality. Experience and an honest interpretation of results will tell you how you should have made a decision in the past. But it won't always accurately predict how you should make a decision right now.

There are numerous factors that are different now from before. Waiting until you have better timing isn't a smart move either.

What do you do?

What should you do when you don't have the proof you want in order to make a decision that you are sure won't fail?

  1. Stop looking for guarantees. -- There are no guarantees in life. The proof you're looking for doesn't exist. That "won't fail" journey you want to walk is just a fantasy in your head. Figuring out the right move starts with a shift in your philosophy. To make the best decision you need to believe that there's a possibility that whatever your decision, it will be wrong. Chances are you're going to make a mistake.
  2. Be more honest about your weaknesses. -- Stop pretending like you don't make mistakes. You do. Sometimes you make big mistakes that have long term consequences. Denial just impedes forward progress. By acknowledging mistakes (and apologizing when necessary) you teach your brain and your employees to adapt to realistic benchmarks for success.
  3. Take smaller, more recoverable positions. -- Instead of lunging boldly after schemes that involve luck or fortuitous timing, make decisions that limit uncertainty. Stable long term circumstances give you the best environment for improving on decisions that you've made in the past that might not have been the best choice at the time. By taking tiny steps forward all the time, you limit the number of times you need to dramatically change course. That means there's less drama, chaos, and frustration for everyone involved.

Making great decisions requires another set of skills.

(It's requires you being curious and interpreting clues.)

The better you are at looking for answers and finding answers from what you see around you, the better you will be at making great decisions. Especially when you don't have enough information to be guaranteed that what you're doing will be successful.

Take for example the complexity of gas station fuel type analysis.  Which type of fuel is purchased most frequently by consumers?

You might readily answer that Regular Octane 87 type of fuel is the most popular purchase by buyers. But how would you know that was true if you just had a few moments to make a snap decision?

(Just because that's what you might purchase doesn't mean that's what everyone purchases. Just because everyone you know purchases that type of fuel doesn't mean that it is the most popular type of fuel sold.)

You can know with certainty the answer to this question by simply looking at the  selection buttons at the gas pump. In just a few seconds of analysis, you can see quite clearly which type of gas is the most popular. The button that is scratched, faded or gouged the most is most likely the choice of fuel that is selected most by buyers.

In a few seconds, you can accurately answer a complex question that would otherwise take much longer to answer. You could stand outside the gas station and count the number of cars and their selections. You could analyze gas container buying and shipping patterns over the weeks and months ahead.

Or, you could just look at which button on the outside of a pump handle is scratched the most. With a few more steps and a few more seconds of effort, you could analyze the buying patterns for every pump at the gas station.

If you want to know, you should probably start looking for answers. That's where great decision start. With you looking to do the right thing.

The evidence you need to make a good decision is all around you.

Look for answers. Interpret clues honestly. Take steps toward where you want to be.

The only guarantee in life is that if you keep moving In the right direction, you are getting closer to being successful.