Stop Worrying About Making the Right Decision

With a major hat tip to Ed Batista for his recent HBR blog post on decision making, I’d encourage everyone to take 5 minutes to consider Batista’s analysis within the context of your own life and career.

In his post, Batista recounts a lesson he learned from Scott McNealy, founder and former CEO of Sun Microsystems. Asked how he made decisions, McNealy said, “It’s important to make good decisions. But I spend much less time and energy worrying about ‘making the right decision’ and much more time and energy ensuring that any decision I make turns out right.”

Having worked with hundreds of executives over the past several decades, I have found the most successful ones are those who view a decision point as a start, not an end. Never more so than today when oodles of data, analytics and information splash against the backstop of a decision making framework, the importance of turning any decision into the right decision is not an insignificant task. Deluged with more and more data points, each of which can potentially impact the trajectory of a decision, business executives need to find comfort in the all-important pivot, a trajectory change made on the fly to ensure success amidst changing circumstances. And, importantly, a brand new starting point.

We all make decisions every day. Some are reflective, bending to years of consideration about life circumstances; others are reflexive, impulsive ones that can be just as determinative of our own success — and happiness — as those lingered over for years. The key, as McNealy and Batista note, is taking appropriate steps to make each decision the right decision, not the final one.

Market well.

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