How your strategy helps you make decisions

How quickly do you and your organization make decisions? Do you make them quickly, or does each decision seem to be a long and painful process filled with uncertainty and doubt?

In working with small business owners over the years I’ve noticed that those who have a clear set of goals and a well defined strategy for achieving those goals, make decisions much more quickly than those that don’t. I believe one of the major reasons for this is that people and organizations with a well defined strategy use that strategy to help them evaluate choices in their decision making process. Basically, they ask “will doing X move us closer to our goals?”. If the answer is “yes” or “we think so” they move forward. If the answer is no, they quickly abandon the idea and move on – no sense wasting time on things that are not help them achieve their goals.

Organizations with clearly defined goals and strategies also tend to have feedback systems in place to help them measure what it working and what isn’t. These feedback systems also give them the confidence to try things when the answer to the question above is “we think so”. Because they know how to measure and monitor their systems, they can run experiments and try new approaches without the fear of having a project get away from them and burn through a lot of cash and other resources.

Businesses that cultivate this approach to decision making also gain confidence in their ability to make good decisions quickly. Decision making is a skill and like other skills, repetition and feedback lead to improvement.

The importance of being able to being able to make decisions quickly and confidently is one of the reasons I’ve always been a big believer in the need to have a systematic approach to your sales and marketing. The growth of technology has greatly increased the tools and techniques that are available for marketing your business. Without a strategy, the choices may be overwhelming and lead to “analysis paralysis”. However, when you have a set of clearly defined goals (both personal and business), a marketing strategy to help you achieve those goals, and a feedback system to keep you on track, those decisions become a lot easier to make.

Here is an experiment for you to try. During the next 30 days, whenever you are faced with a decision, first determine saying “yes” will move you closer to one of your goals. If the answer is “no”, discard it and don’t give it another thought. If the answer is “yes” or “I think so” figure out how you will measure whether or not it is working in the next 14 days and then give it a try. Build the habit of making decisions and testing the results.

Let me know how you do, I’d love to hear your feedback.


  1. Bill – great post…and I agree that in order to be decisive you have to have a target to evaluate against. A related challenge that I see a lot of business owners struggle with is having a focused, concise list of goals.

    We often talk to our clients about the top 5 things they need to achieve this year to move forward. 5 is kind of arbitrary but it is important to have a small list of the most important things – otherwise it’s easy (and likely) that you’ll get pulled off course.

    Thanks for sharing.


    • Thanks Shawn, Love your reminder about having a top 5 list to stay focused. I think this technique becomes even more powerful when the company has a top 5 that everyone knows about, and then each individual has a top 5 that helps them grow and defines how their role contributes to the company’s top 5.

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