The Power of Decisive Action: How You Can Begin Making Strong Choices

FirstRound recently put out a post on what they call “the magical benefits of the Quitter’s Mindset.” They shared the story of Ellen Chisa who chose to drop out of Harvard Business School in favor of a great job offer. As they put it, “Chisa made the decision fast, but not rashly.”

Anything called a “quitter’s mindset” doesn’t give the impression of effective business strategy or life strategy for that matter, but the benefits have clearly born out for Ellen and it wasn’t the first or the last time she made a decisive choice to quit either.

She has done this so many times, in fact, that she has a framework of decision making whenever she considers quitting an active effort. She weighs the benefits and costs of her options and she makes a choice, fast.

This is the kind of decisiveness that success in business counts on. The startup industry, especially in tech fields, moves so quickly that there’s no time to waste on anything less than quick action. May that be deciding to pursue a new job offer, pivoting into a new market, or altering your product based on audience demand, your ability to recognize the need for change and act on it is what’s going propel you ahead of the competition every single time.

Whatever your reasons are, may they be anything from financial to mental health, you have to know what you want to have on your plate at any given time and what the costs are. If the cost is too high and the benefits are too slim then that’s the time to adjust.

Ellen made another choice to quit, this time at her job at Kickstarter when she realized that she had become too devoted to the company and lost herself in the process. This is as good a reason as any to make a change. Stagnation is the enemy that you should always be fighting against, may that be in terms of your business’ progress or that of your own life.

While we all have some burden to be able to make these kinds of choices, no one is more responsible than leaders and managers whose choices not only affect them, but everyone on their team.

The Harvard Business Review shared their checklist on how to make these kinds of better decisions, faster than ever. The cornerstone of their philosophy relies on the idea of recognizing realistic alternatives before you rush into a choice. This is the part that allows you to avoid making that “rash” decision that can do so much harm.

This may seem obvious, but it’s a piece of the process that often gets forgotten. At the very least, it’s not always done quite right. According to HBR, you should have at least four or more realistic alternatives. Think out your options and get creative. It will not only open more doors for you, but will improve your ability to decide in general.

The next step is to look for any blind spots in your choice. It’s easy to convince yourself that there’s nothing wrong with a change and fail to recognize the problems before it’s too late. Consult your peers, your stakeholders, and anyone you trust. They may see something you don’t.

Skilled decision makers can do these things so quickly because they know the framework and they know exactly what they do whenever the time comes to make a call. Practice, be prepared to make mistakes, but make sure you learn. The most important thing is to be fearless of change because it’s exactly what is going to put you in a position to do more than you ever thought you could.

— ZK

Ed Lynes13p5Comment