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COPING WITH FAILURE

How to Make Tough Decisions

Here are three things you can consider next time you're faced with a difficult decision.
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As the leader of your company it's inevitable that you'll have to make some tough decisions along the way. It's part of the job. The way you navigate these decisions will impact how you're perceived and regardless, you'll be judged for it.

In the past 12 years of running my e-mail marketing company VerticalResponse, I've had to make my fair share of tough decisions, but you know, many of those choices have led to changes that have defined our product or our team. Here are three things you can consider next time you're faced with a difficult decision:

Use What You've Got

I'm a shoot from the hip kind of leader and trust my instincts, however that doesn't mean I only make emotion-based decisions. I surround myself with really talented team members and I draw on as many of them as possible to get the facts, figures and all the data I feel I need. But, you often won't get the luxury of having every morsel of information available from which to make your decision, so a point comes where you just have to call the ball and and make the choice based on what you've got. Will you be right 100 percent of the time? Not a chance. But, the longer you do it, the better you'll get.

Tune Out the Noise

It's really easy to get distracted by the noise surrounding any big decision. We've all been there when you've got a bunch of conflicting opinions, people may start to take things personally and it just snowballs from there. Not pretty and certainly not helpful in staying focused on the task at hand. In this case, you've got to clear the noise and make your choice based on principal and the information you've got.

Take Responsibility

Ultimately, no matter what choice you make, good, bad or indifferent, you've got to own it. If you make a mistake, the single best thing you can do is to be accountable. Immediately. And if you nail it and make the right decision, share the glory with your team. We all know none of us succeed alone. The more we can involve our teams in the good and the tough choices, the more they'll start to think and own the business like a boss--and that helps everyone do well.

If you're struggling to make tough decisions, my advice is to just do it. Use what you've got, tune out the noise and own it.

Have you made a tough decision that went well, or not so well? What did you learn? Share in the comments.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, sign up for the free VR Buzz weekly newsletter and check out the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog.

IMAGE: Getty Images
Last updated: Sep 26, 2013




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