We become what we become because of the choices that we make over time and the accountability we have to our choices. Some choices are easy like, “What do I have for breakfast?” Others are hard such as, “How are we going to grow our sales by 35% this year?”
Many times, we are so frustrated or confused that we don’t make a choice. Not making a choice is a choice.
Life and business are simply a series of choices stacked upon one another. Over time these choices lead us to our desired results. Make great choices and you can get great results. Make poor choices and you could lose millions. Though it’s simple on the surface, the ramifications are significant.
Successful people know in which areas of business and life to spend their time making choices. They realize that it is important to identify key issues and to proactively deal with them.
Less successful individuals wait for things to happen and then spend their time putting out fires. It is always easier to make a choice when you are relaxed. Under pressure, decisions become filled with emotion and are much more difficult to make.
Obviously, proactive choices are easier to make, and they play a major part in building your business. So, how do you best organize your thinking to make great choices?
I believe that you make your best choices when it comes from your “core.” I call this decision making process, “CORE2.” Here’s how it works.
What is your current situation? Where are you now? What issues are at hand? Are you dealing with a current problem or thinking strategically? What are all of the facts that surround the situation? What is working? What isn’t working?
You need to be able to accurately answer all of these questions and more! It is critical that you know where you are coming from, the issues at hand, and any strengths and weaknesses that might affect your situation and choices.
I define success as, “closing the gap between where you are now, and your vision of the future.” People often spend their time goal setting, and looking towards the future. Although, I’m a big advocate of setting goals, I also believe that it’s only half of the equation.
We all must have a very clear vision of where we are going, but it is absolutely necessary to be clear about where we are today.
If I invited you over to my house for dinner, you might phone me and ask for directions to my home. My reply would be, “Where are you coming from?” When you know where you’re coming from, then you can determine how to get to where you want to go.
Once we fully understand our current situation, we are then in a position to strategically and tactically plan out what we envision for ourselves.
Do you have a vision of the future? Do you know where you are coming from and where you are going?
What do you want to achieve? In the big picture, this is “goal setting” or “vision clarification.” On a day-to-day basis, it is knowing where you want to stand tall when making decisions on issues that range from what color you should paint your office, to the information you have on your business card, to the adjustments that you might make to sales and marketing procedures.
You must be clear in your mind about the end result you desire. And, if you achieve that end result, what will it mean to you and your business? What are it’s side effects? How will this success affect your business? What are the consequences for your employees and your customers?
Each time you achieve a goal there are ripple effects. It’s not enough to want to move in a certain direction to capture a specific outcome. You must spend time understanding how this success will impact other areas of your business.
Roads You Can Take
When I speak at a convention or an annual company meeting, I will often tell my audience that there are many roads to success. If five people are given a specific challenge, it’s possible that each person will come up with a plan that is different from the others in order to achieve their goal.
When my son was in the Cub Scouts, he came home with a project. He had a box. In it was a block of wood, four nails, and four plastic tires. That’s right, it was Pine Wood Derby time.
My son’s goal was to make a car that looked good and went fast. I have to tell you, at the race there were some really fast cars, and they all looked different. Each boy found a different solution to the same problem.
When making a choice, you too are faced with options. Brainstorm. Make a list of each possible way that would achieve your desired outcome. Don’t pass judgment on your ideas. Just write them down. The more possible solutions, or roads you can take, the better.
Sometimes, you will come up with one idea that is based on others that you’ve had. This type of synergistic thinking is very powerful. If you have a Mastermind Group, take your challenges to them and brainstorm together. In a group setting, you will naturally build on each other’s ideas and create possible solutions that you would never have created yourself.
I attribute most of the great business choices I’ve made to the collective thinking of my Mastermind Group. It is very powerful to have six other people concerned with my success.
Examine and Execute
Now, examine each possible, “road to success.” Look at the advantages, drawbacks, side effects, and any other related issues.
Although several options are on your list, many times a couple of them will stand out immediately.
Is there a very best idea? Maybe there is a clear winner. If not, you will need to weigh the “upside” against the “downside.” In other words, do the potential gains justify the potential risks?
Sometimes, it is wiser to work towards a more modest goal to greatly reduce your risk of loss. Then, once you’ve achieved your goal, you can take the next step and move the risk factor up a notch.
When the best alternative is determined, don’t wait; just do it! Many times, a choice is a good choice today, but may have less value tomorrow. Conditions can change quickly. Your competition may adjust or move in a different direction.
Don’t be in a rush, but once you’ve made the best possible choice, don’t procrastinate either.
Effective business professionals spend time analyzing all of their alternatives. Then, when making a final decision, they move immediately and implement a plan to achieve desired results.
Making effective choices is time consuming and mentally challenging. Achievement is based on series of consistently good and well thought out choices. Once you make your choice you must be accountable for it. Great choices combined with accountability equals great results over time.
Work from your CORE, make great choices, and you will be on the road to Build a Better Biz!