As I talked about in my previous post, this is a time of change in my life. I’ve had to make a lot of important and tough decisions in a relatively short time, and will continue to have to make several more in the coming weeks. It’s gotten me thinking about decision making in general and so I thought I’d spill some of those thoughts here.
In general, I’ve not always been good at being decisive. It’s often much easier to “wait it out”, “see how things go”, “or run with it”. Unfortunately though, not making a decision is in fact a decision…and rarely the right one. Basically since high school I’ve often found myself falling into leadership roles. Some are by chance, some are sought after, and some are out of pure necessity. One thing that has become overwhelmingly apparent, though, is that a good leader MUST be able to make decisions quickly and intelligently. It’s of the utmost important that a leader is able to quickly examine all possibilities and choose the best one in a short time. Also, just as importantly, a leader must be willing to stick to their guns and not shy away from the decision they’ve made, and be willing to accept responsibility if the decision turns out to be the wrong one. It’s very tempting to blame the information, the group, or just the individual circumstances for a wrong decision, but the truth is that none of that matters. Ultimately the leader made the decision for the group and the leader is responsible for the decision to the group.
Being able to make sound decisions quickly is a necessity, especially in the web startup space where things move so quickly. Although I feel I still have a long way to go in being able to quickly evaluate all possibilities and still be sure to choose the right ones more often than the wrong ones, I do feel I’ve made a lot of progress in a relatively short time. I’d really encourage everyone to take on a leadership role or two at some point and actively consider this topic. Or if you can’t find yourself a leadership role just practice being more decisive in your own life. Start by being the one to make a decision among friends when someone asks “What do you want to do tonight?”. Even these tiny steps can start you on a path to become a decisive, effective leader and should not be underestimated.