Put on the grey blazer and blue jeans.
Grab a coffee - hold the creamer.
It's sunny, so bike to work.
Fire the entire company.
We make 35,000 conscious decisions each day. Some are mundane. Some are monumental. The ones entrepreneurs make have ripple effects on employees, customers, and the company's future. It's no surprise that Vogue editor Anna Wintour says decisiveness is the most important quality a leader can have.
Five years into my first business, I realized that the culture was damaged beyond repair. No one was on board with my long term vision and the workplace had become toxic. Although I had no firm game plan for what to do next, my gut told me that something had to change.
So I made the huge decision to fire all 11 of my employees in one day. Following my instincts immediately put the business on a better path.
Here are three ways I avoid analysis paralysis for efficient, effective decision-making.
The Two Second Rule
Have you ever just known something? That's what happened when I let my team go in 1997 - I just knew cleaning house would help.
The two-second rule is a way to find out what feels right, without over-analyzing. It isn't about acting without thinking; it's about doing your research, then doing a rapid-fire processing of your lifetime experience to make a call. Once you've collected some data, asked advice, and otherwise done your homework, give yourself just two seconds to say "yes" or "no."
It's a concept Malcolm Gladwell demonstrated over and over again in his book Blink: when you're drawn to one choice over another, there's probably a good reason. As humans, we're used to doing these sort of gut checks every day -- just think about the hundreds of life-or-death decisions you make every time you're driving a car.
There's No Time Like the Present
Richard Branson likes to say, "Screw it, let's do it!" And I agree: it's better to do something now instead of waiting for the perfect moment.
Was the timing right to open 1-800-GOT-JUNK? locations in the U.K. in 2006? ... Actually no, that experiment was a flop. But the process informed our strategy in North America, and helped us find success during our expansion into Australia.
The point is, you can never know for sure you're making the right decision - and sometimes you will fail in a big, embarrassing way. What's important is that you decided something, and that you can be nimble and adapt if things don't go as planned.
Cancel the Committee
When it comes to decisions, it's best not to have too many cooks in the kitchen. Our moving company, You Move Me, has five partners, so it takes longer to make decisions. This arrangement has its upsides, of course, but it quickly becomes a bottleneck left unchecked.
That's why I'm a fan of the Rule of Three: for key meetings and decisions, decisions-makers are limited to just three people. Any more than that, and the complexity of communications and opinions exponentially grows.
Choose a few people from your leadership team to make the final call, or name one person to have the final say. While you may not please everybody, a confident decision with follow-through always earns respect.
Ultimately, the best way to foster decisiveness is to embrace a Willing to Fail (WTF) culture. When you believe - personally and as a team - that failure fosters growth and learning, you eliminate the fear that often holds us back from making a quick call. As an entrepreneur, trust yourself to take a risk and survive; even if you make the wrong decision, you're going to emerge from the wreckage with the experience and perspective to make even stronger, smarter choices in the future.