In Good Mistakes I wrote about how mistakes need not always be bad. In fact, mistakes are usually “good” if we learn from them. Besides, we recognise a mistake as one, only in hindsight. Yet, the fear of making mistakes keeps many people from making decisions, which is undoubtedly a “bad” mistake. In business, for example, not making a decision is much more harmful than making a wrong decision.
As an entrepreneur, a key lesson I have learned is about the importance of decision-making. We are faced with so many different dilemmas almost every business day, and each of them requires us to make decisions. When we are unsure, we tend to avoid making decisions and in the process end up losing time, money and opportunities.
Fear of wrong or bad decisions can keep us needlessly immobilised, because when we make decisions, we want to be certain of the outcome. But is a guaranteed outcome ever possible? There are a multitude of factors influencing the outcome of any business decision, and many of them are beyond our control. So, we can, at most, make a calculated guess and minimise our risk of making the wrong decision.
Risk is inherent in any business. Even random probability tells us that 50 per cent of all our decisions will be wrong. But the remaining 50 per cent would be right. And that’s good news, right? By making no decision, we effectively forfeit this 50 per cent chance of success.
Another advantage of making prompt decisions is that if it turns out to be unfavourable, you can salvage the situation faster. If you ask the biggest and most successful businessmen what they attribute their success to, they would say that it is their ability to make prompt decisions – not “right” decisions.
To be able to make prompt decisions, we must let go of our need to always be right. It is impossible for any one person to be 100 per cent right at all times. Because the factors are not in our control, we can never be sure of making the right decision. For example, what is right today may not be right a year later when our country’s economic conditions get different or the competitive landscape has transformed.
Another thing about decision-making is that you get better with practice. Every time you make a decision, you learn something. So, the more decisions you make, the sharper your decision-making faculty becomes Or as someone once said, “Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions.”
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