Fuel for Thought

There Is No “Right” Decision, Only the One You Make

December 28, 2015

by Joe Thompson - Also by this author

As your company moves forward, you’ll face decisions. I’ve talked about how hitting the brakes can actually help move your company forward, but what if a tough decision brings you and your company to a paralyzing stand-still?

At ROUSH CleanTech—and probably at your workplace, too—when we have a new opportunity, we look at it from every angle: legal, material, financial, sales, service and customer experience. These checks and balances make the person charged with decision-making feel safe and supported.

But we can’t stall in the analysis phase forever. At some point, says Ellen Langer, professor of psychology at Harvard, it’s time to stop asking questions and make a gut decision. “We can then work on making the decision right rather than obsess about making the right decision,” Langer writes in her book, “Mindfulness.

Rarely is the choice to “go or no go” the final decision. A decision must be revisited and tended to over its life. Take the emphasis off the decision itself. Instead, put it on the actions required once it’s made. This keeps the decision from being seen as the destination. It’s supporting a decision and remembering the virtues of it that makes an organization successful.

Big decisions and big contracts can feel overwhelming. For fleet operators, weighing choices means considering maintenance, finance, operator safety, sustainability, infrastructure and more. But, as Ed Batista writes in the Harvard Business Review, “Merely selecting the best option doesn’t guarantee that things will turn out well in the long run, just as making a sub-optimal choice doesn’t doom us to failure.” The actions taken in the months or years after the decision is made are what will determine if that decision was a success.

So in the end, while decisions are critical to business success, it is the actions supporting those decisions that ultimately make it a good one.

Here’s your fuel for thought: Stop worrying about making the right decision; focus instead on steering your company successfully along the road chosen.

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Joe Thompson

President, ROUSH CleanTech

Joe Thompson has served as president of ROUSH CleanTech since the company’s inception in 2010. Under Thompson’s leadership, the company has won numerous quality control and environmental awards.

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