The Blog

When Was The Last Time...?

When was the last time you made a decision that turned out not to be among the best you have ever made?

When was the last time you made a decision that turned out not to be among the best you have ever made?

I'd hazard a guess that is was probably not that long ago.

Did you manage to keep it to yourself or did the world, or at least close friends and relatives, get to know about it?

Just for a moment, give some thought to a certain Prime Minister (yes still in post!) who made such a decision.

A decision that took a lot of people by surprise. A decision no-one could quite understand. A decision that has slowly unravelled over the weeks. Unravelled in a very open and public way.

How well do you think your decision-making would stand the test of open and very public scrutiny?

Fortunately for most of us, we are often able to make decisions in a relatively private environment.

When we get it wrong there are generally very few people that get to know. In fact, often, we manage to keep stuff to ourselves, only we know the real truth about the failures.

Some years ago, I ran events in a couple of departmental stores. One of them was also the head office for the company.

Whenever I had a new initiative I wanted to try out I'd always do a 'soft launch' in the other store, the one that did not house head office. This store was rarely visited by senior management and even more rarely by Directors!

I could launch innovative ideas and try them out away from the spotlight. If they failed then they never made it to the main store and I didn't end up with egg on my face! No one was any the wiser.

In the main, I was very fortunate and most of the new initiatives worked 'out of the box' and were soon extended to the head office store.

You don't always have a 'controlled environment' in which to make decisions. A controlled environment where you can undo them if they don't work out. Often, you are faced with deciding upon something when you may not have all the facts you'd like to have available to you.

The critical point to consider when making decisions is to ensure you have all the facts available at the time you must decide. Everything you need to know so you can arrive at a valued judgement.

You should not make decisions based upon the past. Nor should you make them based purely on predictions for the future.

The only time that exists is the NOW. You can only make decisions based on what you know to be true now - the very minute you must make the decision.

No matter how your decisions work out, no matter how 20:20 hindsight provides a different outlook - you can only judge yourself on what you knew at the time.

There is no room for regret. There is no room for recrimination.

You must look positively on the outcomes. They are the result of the best decision you could make based upon the best you could know at that time.

Internally you have the wherewithal to choose how you respond to external stimuli, to events, to outcomes.

If you take a negative view you will find yourself constrained from making decisions in the future. If you stop making decisions then your life will simply stall. You will find yourself coasting and making no real progress. If you are coasting when others are not then it just means they will all be moving on and you'll get left behind in their wake.

Given the number of decisions we are all faced with daily there are inevitably going to be some we get wrong. But, remember, you are far better off facing up and making a decision than avoiding it completely.

Avoid making decisions for yourself and you'll end up living a life dictated by others. Do you really want that? I'd guess, no!

It's all about taking responsibility for your life. Take 100% responsibility for your life and for the decisions you make. You'll feel so much better, so much more in control.

A side issue is that you will find yourself respected by others around you. People find it hard to make decisions and love being around someone that is prepared to make the tough decisions they are avoiding.

Let's face it there's nothing worse than the individual that constantly blames others for their own failures. We've all encountered them and they can be very frustrating!

When people around you become accustomed to your positive approach and outlook they'll seek you out in future and not hide from you!

I guess the key lesson I am trying to get across and the one to be learnt from recent, public, events is to face up to decisions and make them based on the very best knowledge you have available at the time. If there's any doubt then get further clarification.

Then, having made the decision, you must face up to the resulting outcomes. Even if those outcomes were not what you expected!

They are nevertheless outcomes of YOUR decision and no-one else.

Take ownership of the outcomes, deal with them positively, and move forward.