Leaders Decide

“There are really only two ways to approach life, as a victim or as a gallant fighter, and you must decide if you want to act or react, deal your own cards or play with a stacked deck. And if you don’t decide which way to play with life, it always plays with you. ” – Merle Shain

How good are you at making decisions? Do you still have the bad habits of a ninth grader? You might recall that typical conversation. Your friends are in a circle. Someone asks, “So what do you want to do?” Blankly staring and compliant, everyone bleats, “I dunno. Whatever.”

Finally, someone asserts themselves. You know, the same person that always does – the leader, “Let’s go see the late show.” Everyone else follows along.

Have the dynamics changed that much since then? Not really. The victims and the fighters have pretty much separated themselves. The latter are your leaders. They tell the others what to think, decide and act on. If you don’t believe me, go to a crowded lunch spot and listen to the conversations. The victims can be overheard complaining and moaning. The winners are talking direction, strategy and answers. They already decided to win. The rest have not decided. They are acting normally.

There is one thing that leaders do which everyone else does not. They decide. Small or big, they make decisions. They know how to make a $500 decision and they know how to make a $50,000 decision. The follower would not dare. They might fail. Far be it that they should.

The masses wander in life. Here are the actions which follow most people’s decision-making process:

1. They don’t respond.
2. They don’t engage.
3. They wait for a crisis.
4. They justify.

Making decisions is crucial to business. You may be calling on an account and you hear, “Maybe.” Treat it as a “No.” This is a person who can’t decide. Note what Jim Riley says,

“A maybe tempts you to sit around and hope for a yes. I treat a maybe as a no. Waiting stalls the process, makes you anxious, and takes the wind out of your sails. I say give her a few days to decide, then call her. If she says no, move on. If she isn’t available or won’t take your call, move on. You are looking for a person who wants to take action. A maybe person will never get you where you want to go.”

I run into “Maybe” people ten times more than a person who wants to take action. Fundamentally, it comes down to a person’s inability to lead themselves. They do not know how to make decisions. Often you will find they major on the minors or minor on the majors. Beware. You are talking to the wrong people.

Doing business requires people to move forward with other people in some fashion. It requires a decision.

Life happens because of leadership. Look for those types of people to do business with and the ball will move forward in your business. In your own leadership, practice making decisions. Be a person who learns the art and pacing of making decisions, but no matter what, always decide. You will never have all the information. If you did, it is too late.

Truly, the person who knows how to decide is merely a person who believes in himself. If you find yourself faltering at making decisions, especially around money, then it is likely that your belief system is fractured. You do not believe in yourself. Either fix it, or let someone much more capable than you make the decisions. You are not capable. Stay out of the way of progress. If you need other people’s buy-in, then make the decision to lead and get the buy-in. Then come back and make the decision.

It is difficult to expect what you do not possess. Thus, it is extremely important to be a leader and decision-maker in everything you do in order to solicit decisions from others. I have found that how people handle the small things in life dictate how they respond to the big things. If you cannot manage your inbox, then larger decisions become overwhelming. Get the small things right and you will be building the habits and mindset to handle the larger things.

Leadership is decision-making. Not only making a decision but owning the results good or bad is required. It starts with one fundamental decision. It starts with your decision to lead your life or have others do it for you. Stop and make that decision today. Be the person who makes the call and watch your life open up with clarity, purpose and opportunity.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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