Have a Decision Making System

The founders of companies are normally visionary people that have a great passion for their vision of the future. Passion is their greatest strength and their greatest weakness. If you are creating your art, product, service, your passion for the world, then making strategic and tactical decisions is like pulling teeth.

“Even if you’re not a Visionary yourself, you certainly know a few, and meet them at work — they’re the passionate, every-hyperlinking, ’30,000-feet’ big picture types who arrive back from most weekends and vacations with yet another bright idea, the ‘glass-half-full’ optimists who believe (and frequently demonstrate) that there’s always a way through every problem.”
Les McKeown, Predictable Success

Visionaries need a decision-making system in place so that they can rely on their team to use that system and keep them focused on acting on those items that will get them closer to their goals. Les McKeown says that visionaries have a high squirrel tendency. I love the Disney movie UP. My wife and I saw this with our daughters and I loved the entire “Squirrel!” distraction of the dog characters. It did not matter what was going on in the scene, if they saw a squirrel that was all they could concentrate on. Visionaries tend to be the same way. They will go to a conference and come back to the office on Monday and scrap the entire new strategy you worked on all day Friday in favor of the system pitched by the last speaker at the conference.

I spent more than a decade as a vendor auditor for oil and gas companies and saw this in many of the companies I audited. Many of the vendors in the oil industry are “Mom and Pop Shops” that service local facilities for big oil companies. Once they had proven themselves as a trusted partner in their specialty, it was predictable that the oil company procurement manager would ask them something like, “You have done such a great job for us welding our pipeline we were wondering if you could help us out with catering services?” Leaders that want to grow but stay focused on their vision would think; I have a company that employs 25 welders and owns a welding shop so I am not sure if this is a fit for us. But you know what most of those vendors would say to their later dismay, “Yes, of course we can.” This is an exaggeration to make a point, but I hope it makes you think.

Build a system around your leaders to keep them focused or things go Squirrel quickly

I have a friend that is a truly gifted artist and when he was starting his lifestyle business, he asked me many times, “What should I do next?” He has the vision of sharing his life and experiences with others that want to live a simpler life. He is a list maker by nature. His natural ability to make lists often overwhelms his ability to act on the listed items. In many conversations with him he has said to me, “I am clear on my vision for the community I am building and I know the 95 things I need to do to make it a success, but I have no idea what to do first.”

“The people who are doing the work we care about are figuring out what to do next, not following the person who told them what to do next.”
Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow

There are very few Steve Jobs (Apple Computer) and Elon Musk’s (Tesla) in the world that can be both the visionary and the driver of an organization. They are the ones that figure out what to do next. That is why they are among the greatest entrepreneurs of all time.

Taking Decisive Action is being able to quickly decide, hold on to the decision and most importantly being ok with the outcome. We are living through a time of disruption in the world. Industries are changing quickly and you must have a system in place to make prompt decisions even if you are not 100% certain. You don’t have to be 100% certain to be confident in your decision-making system.