Decision paralysis is a term used to describe when a person is overwhelmed by their options and/or data (or lack thereof) involved in decision-making. Am I making the right decision? What should my decision be? Do I have all the information to make the correct decision? These are all questions running through many of our minds.
During the past couple of weeks, I’ve spoken to hundreds of business owners to see how I can help. For the lucky ones, this is business as usual. For many others, they are experiencing an extreme event. They aren’t sure if their business will survive and they aren’t sure what to do.
Struggling with hard decisions isn’t too much of a surprise. Multiple studies have shown that stress and panic greatly affect our decision-making skills. New studies contribute to this growing body of evidence that stress affects our ability to focus and to plan. Here are some tips to consider in your decision-making for the next few weeks and beyond.
If you are waiting for something outside your control to happen, you are wasting your time and your focus. No one knows when we’ll be allowed to return to our normal routines. No one knows how long it will be until we are back to business as usual. Focus on what you can control – What is your marketing message? Who is your target customer? How do you get in front of them? How long will your cash last? (yes, you can control that.) Focus on what you can do now to best position your company for the recovery.
The decision shouldn’t be black and white. Is there a middle road that you haven’t considered? Try to prevent tunnel vision by seeking a third option if you only see two. If you have twenty, narrow it down to three.
You should already have an informal board of directors and a group of trusted advisors. If you don’t have one, step one is to ask for help. Call your CPA, attorney, banker, mentor, coach, friend, employees, or chamber of commerce and ask for guidance. You’ll be surprised how helpful they can be. Try to get perspectives from individuals with varied experiences and skills to find an optimal solution.
Once you’ve made your decision, stick to it. Ruminating on past decisions wastes energy. This doesn’t mean you have to follow a bad decision to the end, but make sure you continue moving forward.