We need a strategy for making decisions during these urgency-based and often panic-oriented times.
Consider these approaches for differentiating your decision-making methods: Will you default to predator impulse-based decisions or methodical data-driven ones characterized by the following behaviors?
1. Your early warning system
Recognize that gut sense of urgency, anxiety or fear, and choose to take this early warning system to slow down and pay attention to what’s going on.
2. Awareness, not action
Remember, urgency does not mean action; it means awareness and invitation for contextualizing a strategic process, threat, opportunity and impact.
3. Data collection
Adopt a mindset of and strategy for data collection that allows you to incorporate the information you’re collecting and weigh the experience you’re having against the reality of history, benchmarks and advice of experts.
4. Rigorous investigation of reality
Invite people into your assessment process who question everything as an assumption until they can ensure relevance to your operation and alignment with those stakeholders you rely upon and trust.
5. Now and never: Yes/no strategics
Identify opportunities that are and are not in alignment with your operational capacity and goals, and define in advance what conditions would cause you to act or refuse to act upon opportunities (timing, financial capacity, people who can own and deliver).
6. Urgency plan
Define urgencies and threats that would require your operation to react, and create a plan to address those urgencies. Educate operational stakeholders in advance and rehearse the appropriate response.
7. Decision-making strategies
Define a clear set of protocols for decision-making in advance to protect you from impulse and fatigue-based decisions. This includes identifying who, what, when, where and why. Avoid making decisions after extensive performance days.
We have to honor the legacy left to us by entrepreneurs whose triggered, opportunistic behaviors and capacity for reacting to risk-related urgencies resulted in pioneering new territory and refusing to fail. Unfortunately, the cost of failure is magnified in our current environment where banks, regulators and human resource agencies impose strict guidelines and penalties for outcomes resulting in overexposing ourselves to risk because of reactivity.
Character is defined by how we behave in struggle, not in victory. It is up to us to lead the charge in the midst of political and environmental instability.
Who will you be for your families, your teams, your peers and your industry? Will you choose caveman or commander?