We face them everyday but is there anyone who actually feels super confident in making them? The field of science that covers decision making is huge and complex. Unsurprisingly our emotions can really impact the quality of our decisions. You can read more about this side of things in this great article: https://nesslabs.com/decision-making. However, at Monecosse, as always, it’s about the day to day and the people who are around you and your business.

First and foremost (and if you have been following my ramblings so far this won’t come as a huge surprise), decisions made whilst we are reacting to something have less chance of being good ones. Although it isn’t always possible to have breathing space between an event and making a decision, a ten second count noticing that we are in ‘Reaction’, can be enough to slow our tumbling mind and give a small spot of stability from which to make a decision on the hoof. So, to recap, stop, notice reaction, count to ten then make the urgent decision. That probably doesn’t include an impulse purchase of a zebra print sofa by the way!

Ideally, in a perfect world, we will have time and a calm state of mind when making our biggest life or business decisions (for the owner run business these are more often than not, heavily linked) and will have the knowledge to hand that we need. Good decisions can have bad outcomes and bad decisions can have good outcomes, what is for sure is that we all try to do our very best in the exact moment of making decisions but we cannot possibly predict the future. The variables involved in a decision as simple as where to go for lunch are immense. All we can hope to do is make the best decision at the time with the knowledge that we have and then to deal with the consequences (including the reaction of others) subsequently. One thing is for sure and that is making decisions in order to avoid someone else’s reaction is unlikely to be the right thing for you and your business. That is something that needs to be split back into the two separate issues that it consists of: 1. What is the decision? 2. Managing the reaction.

Finally, its worthwhile having a decision book, either a physical paper one or an electronic version. It’s a book only for decisions that feel somewhat weighty in our mind. The idea is to capture our thinking in the very moments of making a decision and why we chose a specific option. For example, ‘I am going to buy that zebra print sofa in the sale because I really love it, it makes me smile, I know that my partner won’t like it as much but I am totally prepared to deal with that reaction for the love of the sofa’. (yes I have chosen a trivial decision to make my point but it works)

Six months later you may be wondering what was going through your head when you made that decision. Now you have a record of your thinking and can see that at the time you could completely justify what you were doing, it felt right and you were all good with your decision. Just because six months on you are questioning your actions doesn’t mean your decision was a bad one, it just means that circumstances or your thinking, or both, have changed. Now you have the ability to look back at your own thought process and let yourself off the hook. More importantly you may begin to notice patterns and in doing so learn more about your own gut instincts, impulses and tendencies, and, it’s just for you. Nobody else ever needs to know about your impulse buy of 100000 paperclips in neon green.

The owner run business is a tough gig at the best of times and, from my experience, the owners are exceptionally good at beating themselves up over supposedly bad decisions. Through talking to them I discover that in fact, they made good decisions at the time but insist on beating themselves up with hindsight. It’s just one area where I think business owners can give themselves a smoother ride whilst constantly learning about themselves and the crazy, hurly, burly world in which they exist.