Businesses live or die by the quality of the decisions they make. Some decisions will be deliberate and others will occur without conscious thought or effort. Whatever the case it’s important that the best possible decisions, especially for the important matters, are made every time.

It’s easier said than done of course and whether decisions are good or bad will only become evident in hindsight. So how can you improve your chances of making good decisions? For me I employ four simple rules as a starting point:

  1. I don’t assume anything or (blindly, fingers crossed) believe anything
  2. I make sure I understand the extent of the downside risk
  3. I don’t make decisions emotionally
  4. I only make decisions when I’m ready and comfortable to do so and I walk away when I’m not

I know too that you’re unlikely to ever have ‘full’ information when making decisions so relying on sound intuition is an important ingredient as well. My approach is probably best described as making ‘slow haste’ and relies on remaining patient and vigilant at all times. I may miss some opportunities but I comfort myself with Richard Branson’s famous words – “opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming”.

I didn’t always do it this way and consequently have made some awful decisions in the past. They still hurt but they were necessary in improving my skills. What I now know is that it can be hard work to uncover the facts required to make a good decision. And it takes discipline and rigour to do it every time. But you will get better at it the more times you do it and that alone should be reason to try…