Tough decisions are usually pretty easy to identify. They’re those moments when your only choice is to (hopefully) choose the lesser of two evils. To choose the path that’s bad instead of the one that’s worse. To try and figure out if a risk is worth taking or not.
There’s no easy way to make a hard decision. But there is a right way and a wrong way.
The Pitfalls of Avoiding the Tough Decisions
This is the wrong way. There are two ways to avoid making tough decisions. One is bad. The other gives you a fifty-fifty chance of making the right decision.
- Do everything. One of the easiest ways to avoid making a tough call is to choose both. Do everything. Be all things to all people. The cost of doing everything will kill a business because every business has competition. The cost of doing everything will either drive your prices up out of your market’s reach, or they’ll whittle away your profit till there’s nothing left. Or less.
- Do nothing. I guess the popular way of saying this these days is “stay the course”. Not making a decision IS a decision. And you’ve got a 50% chance that it’s the right one. Of course, the very fact that a decision needs to be made in this case means that the present course is not going well at all. So giving it odds of 50% is pretty optimistic.
Seeing the Future and Making the Tough Decisions
You gotta love the human spirit. And it’s love of the here and now.
Our natural fight-or-flight instinct helps us make difficult decisions. At least, it does when there’s a crisis right here, right now. But these aren’t difficult decisions and that instinct doesn’t help us make truly difficult decisions whose consequences are often somewhere down the road.
And that’s how you make the tough choices. You have to look into the future. Look down the road. And like a master chess strategist, you have to look at all the possible outcomes of each of your choices.
If the answer still isn’t apparent, then look a little further down the road or track back and see if there’s anything you missed along the way.
Luckily, it’s not a fight-or-flight situation. So take your time.