4 Strategies For Avoiding Indecision, One Of The Biggest Detriments To Leadership


Patrick Frank, Co-Founder of PatientPartner.

As a business leader, you’ll inevitably be faced with difficult decisions that you don’t want to make. When you’re feeling a lack of confidence in your expertise or worried about the impact of your choice, this can lead to procrastination and indecisiveness. However, stepping up during hard times is an essential responsibility, especially when it comes to business decisions. To become a better leader, you must learn to trust and stand by your decisions.

Indecision Is Risky Behavior For Leaders

When it comes to decision-making, most leaders are—understandably—concerned with making bad ones. However, choosing to do nothing at all or not making an informed decision can lead to even worse outcomes. It can lead to missed business opportunities, like how commerical printing company Kodak failed to invest in digital platofrms, or a failure to properly respond to market shifts, like Peleton’s recent issues with adjusting to the pandemic. The failure of leaders to adapt and make decisions to a changing environment led to employees and shareholders paying the price.

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Being a successful, decisive leader isn’t about making lucky guesses or taking irresponsible risks. It’s about using your knowledge, experience and good judgment to make informed calls. For example, in 2013, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel famously turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook. Instead, the company chose to go public. While Snapchat has faced difficulties since then, the company continues to be one of the top Gen Z mobile apps and is worth around $17 billion.

Similarly, in 2020, Epic games—the company behind free-to-play game Fortnite—brought a lawsuit against Apple to challenge iOS App Store restrictions. While Apple largely won the lawsuit, a judge did side with Epic games on one matter: Apple can no longer stop developers from including links to other purchasing systems. While this was a risky, potentially cost-worthy choice, it was a decisive one that set a precedent for other developers.

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4 Strategies For Becoming A More Decisive Leader

If you’re a business leader who struggles with firm decision-making, consider these four strategies.

1. Lean on trusted advisors.

Build a team of trusted advisors who have a deep knowledge of a wide array of industries. Being able to connect with multiple perspectives can help ensure there’s no confirmation bias in your decision-making. Be sure to choose individuals who’ve been in leadership positions. They’ll be able to empathize with your struggles and offer more useful insights.

2. Speak to other company leaders.

A problem shared is a problem halved, so consider reaching out to other leaders in the company. They’ll have the same incentive to help you decide what’s best for the business. Get in touch with your senior colleagues, share your ideas and really listen to their suggestions.

3. Collect valuable data.

Everyone has an opinion, but they’re not always built from the facts. That’s why you need data to back up your decision-making. Asking your teams to put together relevant data will keep you informed, such as sales or marketing reports when considering growth opportunities. Though the past can never be a perfect indicator of future outcomes, it provides the most evidence of a positive outcome.

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4. Go with your gut.

Don’t let analysis paralysis prevent you from listening to common sense. At the end of the day, the ability to follow your instincts when something feels off will always be the strongest indicator of a great leader. When experience meets instinct and confidence, you’ll find it easier to make decisions.

As a leader, it’s crucial that you never let the fear of making the wrong decision prevent you from making any decision at all. Most importantly, make sure to view mistakes as a lesson. Remember: Pressure is an unsung privilege of being in a position to lead.


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