We’re entrepreneurs at least partly because we want to be in charge. We have the vision, the plan, and the drive to achieve success. That’s why it’s hard to loosen our grip on the reins sometimes. Hard, but absolutely critical.
If you insist on making every decision in your company, you’ll never, ever grow much beyond where you are right now. Why? Because no one person can do it all. I don’t care how smart you are or how many hours you’re willing to put in. Growth requires that you relinquish some control and trust the good people you’ve hired.
But you can’t just send new hires off and let them start making critical decisions. There’s a process – three steps that you can use to help your staff (and yourself) make the very best decisions possible. Use this list of questions to guide your employees’ decision making process. Until they can answer “yes” to question one, there’s no moving on. When all three questions get affirmative answers, then they can proceed.
- Does this decision further our company’s uniqueness? Seriously, this question matters more than you realize. Your points of difference are all that distinguish you from the hordes of competitors dying to steal your clients. If a decision doesn’t contribute to the unique offerings you provide to the marketplace, then you run the risk of becoming invisible – and that’s fatal. Push your employees to understand the ways in which your uniqueness is critically important, and if they can’t answer “yes” to this question, they have to stop. They can’t move on until they’ve reworked an opportunity to reflect what sets you apart.
- Does this decision further serve our best clients? One of the great challenges of running a business over the course of time is being able to reinvent yourself while still preserving what brought customers to you in the first place. You must train your staff to keep in mind that without customers, there is no revenue. Unless an opportunity can improve your service, then you shouldn’t proceed further.
- Does this decision maintain or enhance profitability? Once your employees have an idea that preserves your company’s uniqueness and better serves your clients, then the last hurdle is the bottom line. Companies can’t run on ideas alone. If a decision doesn’t pass the fiscal test, it’s dead in the water.
Now, it’s important to note that each of these questions can be a dead end, but perhaps only temporarily. Just because you answer “no” doesn’t mean you can’t rework an idea or an opportunity so that it turns into a “yes.” Teaching your staff not to be easily frustrated is another big part of empowerment. Working through options to refine and polish your decisions will inevitably teach your staff valuable skills that will serve them throughout their entire career.
Good decisions are often what separate success from failure. Training yourself and your staff to make better decisions not only helps you become more efficient (by empowering your staff.) It also sets your company up for growth and success.