Whether you are running your own company or preparing to launch a new product, you'll need to make hundreds of decisions that will impact your future in some way or another. Every single day--you will make decisions that vary from pricing, product, sales strategy and hiring, and you will attempt to surround yourself with enough information to guide you.

While in charge, you have to get very comfortable with making decisions quickly on partial information. There is never enough time to assemble all the facts, and if you wait for them you'll fail anyway because the opportunity will pass you by. So how do you make fast decisions and, over time, know you'll be OK? Well, it takes practice.

The best example is choosing a job. It's typical that you'll never know enough, or everything, about a job until you're in it. You can try to research as much as possible, but if you are too pedantic and careful about collecting information chances are you'll turn off the very manager and company you want to work for, or you'll miss the window for the job. Many jobs, when first starting out, will probably dominate the majority of your waking hours as you work to acclimate yourself in a new schedule, so you need to fall in love with it. In the end, choosing a job is a gut level decision, and it often takes risk to land that "perfect job." As you work towards that leadership role, you'll learn that some jobs will seem painful at times, but pay off in the end.

Consider making product design decisions for a second. When you're heads-down creating a new market and growing your product fast, you can't take the time to survey the market, ask users what they want and then hope to carefully design your product in response. Companies that do that today fail. In contrast, you need to have a vision, a theory of what users want, build it in short bursts and get your customer's input and reaction. Be ready to be wrong and pivot quickly. Do A/B testing to see which approach is better. Iterate quickly with the customers on your team, as the window for success is brief.

And how about sales strategy! Sales campaigns are always under time pressure. A sale delayed, is a sale lost (as one of my sales mentors used to tell me). You can take an entire afternoon white-boarding with your team through all the intelligence you've acquired but in the end, you have to decide on a strategy with partial information and be ready to course correct at any time. When millions of dollars are on the line, courage and an appetite for risk are crucial.

Learning how to make good decisions, or at least where the majority are right, from incomplete information is a powerful skill set for an entrepreneur and will change your future. As Pythagoras said "Choices are the hinges of destiny." Being able to make decisions that present imperfect information will shape your destiny. So take a deep breath, embrace your imperfect information, and have the courage in yourself to decide!

Published on: Mar 11, 2015