Do I need to become a better decision-maker?

Dear Ken Keller,

From time to time I will be faced with an uncomfortable situation in my company. This could be something like having to terminate a long time employee who is not performing after we have tried to get things turned around, or having to face the facts that some customers aren’t profitable and need to be pushed along elsewhere.

But whenever I fact these kind of situations, even if I see them coming from a distance, I freeze. I am hesitant to pull the trigger, to make the final decision. My employees are beginning to think I am indecisive and afraid to make tough decisions.

This is simply who I am. It took me years to figure this out about myself. I don’t think I need to explain myself to anyone but I usually voice what some people would call a lame excuse for not making these kinds of decisions. Have you run across this sort of procrastination, if that is what it is, and what can I do about this? — Casey M.

Dear Casey,

I’m going to take this perspective strictly from a business point of view. As the owner, you have a right and a responsibility to make any decision you want about your company. Not making a decision or delaying a decision is actually a making a decision.

It may not be what others want but it is a decision you have reached.

No one ever said you need to decide everything and you can decide nothing; it is your company and you can run it as you wish.

I think your issue is one of managing the expectations of others. In many situations in business, there are usually three courses of action: to move ahead, to retreat and to not do anything.

These three choices are not permanent and can be changed at any time.

I need to warn you that constant change of decisions will take a toll on the business but more importantly, the people in, and impacted by your business (suppliers, customers).

So, as you have already heard, there are consequences to whatever decision you may make.

You don’t need to explain your decisions to anyone but it would be helpful to educate or share with those around you about what you are thinking and why you are thinking..

Being an owner is not a popularity contest but in order to be successful you will need a team around you to help you to be successful.

If you take the time to listen to what they are saying and thinking, you will discover that most people simply want to be heard.

Those in your employ value having the ability to share their thoughts even though the input they provide it is not used or a different decision is reached.

I wouldn’t change your decision=making process and I would not apologize for the decisions you make or don’t/ If anyone questions you, you can simply say, “This is my decision to make and I have made my decision.”