Making decisions can be tough for even the most intelligent and confident of people, but there are always those who are more indecisive than others. If you can't even figure out what to order for lunch, how are you ever going to become a business leader? Some people find decision making easier than others, but don't assume they were born that way. It takes a lot of effort and learned behavior to cure some of that indecisiveness. If you find yourself on the fence more often than you like, it's time to take action.
People who struggle to make decisions can still be great leaders. The true mark of a good leader is someone who identifies their own weaknesses, fixes them and learns from the process. If you already know you're indecisive, then you've taken the first step. Here are a few ways to address it and move forward.
1. Trust Your Gut
Everyone has instinct and the majority of the time, your gut is right. You probably don't actually have as many decisions to make as you might think. Your real issue might be ignoring your instincts. Practice listening to that inner voice whether in business or your personal life. For example, your gut might be telling you to skip a night out, pursue getting published as a guest blogger or take a pass on that office pool for lottery tickets.
2. Make a Pro and Con List
The pro/con list is a classic way to figure out your best move, but don't assume that whichever side is longer is the right way to go. Different pros and cons carry different weights. It's most just the act of putting things in writing and looking at all angles that is helpful here. If you're the analytical type, this can be a great tool.
3. Jot Down Worst Case Scenarios
Be realistic. What's the worst thing that can happen if you choose option A over option B? Write down your concerns and think of the worst things that can happen. Let's say you want to go into business with a good friend. Are you willing to risk losing that friendship, like what happened with Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin? Is it worth it? If your worst case scenario is only having the friend mad at you for awhile as you go it alone, that's a much less serious risk.
4. Let Money Guide You (Sometimes)
If the decision you're facing involves money, only gamble with as much as you can lose. Yes, you'll need to take risks in business but if that involves dipping into your emergency fund, retirement, the kid's college fund or going into high-interest debt, take a step back and reconsider.
5. Rely on Professionals
Speaking of money, a fantastic way to make smarter decisions is to let professionals be your guide. Having a financial planner, CPA and bookkeeper on your roster (or as contractors) means you're getting all the expertise and experience from someone who is competent in the field. You are angling to be a business leader, not a CMO, CFO or web designer. If it's not your forte, get help from someone who's a pro.
One of the biggest challenges isn't just making decisions but sticking with them. You need to trust in your decision and the process you've chosen and give it a fair shot. You should avoid doggedly hanging on to a decision even when all signs point to it being a mistake, but also avoid bailing at the first sign of trouble. When you make a decision, determine timelines for re-assessments then stick to them. Being indecisive isn't a great trait for a leader, but it can be overcome. Flip flopping after decisions have been made is even worse and shouldn't generally occur.