Making a decision is the daily bread of every leader or a business owner. And actually it is what often makes you feel overwhelmed or lonely. In the past weeks, we all had to take many decisions we were not ready for or had not enough time to think about. Here are 2 tools that can help in such a situation: decision shopping cart and 10-10-10 rule.
- What should I do with my business?
- Should I let people go?
- Should I reduce salaries?
- Should I stop all marketing?
- Our product is not relevant anymore. Should I develop another one?
- Should I start selling online? How?
- Everybody is doing a webinar, we have to have one as well.
These are just some of the decisions business leaders had to take in the past weeks.
When we got a red light for physical training – which was 90% of our business (back in March, 2 months old) – it was shocking. I knew that the idea of video training is not very popular in our market.
In one of the conversations with a client, we spoke about remote work and how she needed to adapt to it with her team. And I thought: “this is it” – everyone needs to hear about that now. And overnight I started building a new service.
Built a page, built a deck, built content. I even decided to do a webinar (which I’ve never done before).
We bought a tool, run a campaign, we did a webinar.
Invested several days of work, over $1,000 in marketing it and it brought us… ZERO. 💩
Because I panic-acted. I didn’t think it through. I didn’t think who should be the audience, customer, I just quickly throw some content on people. I knew I can help with the experience I have or some of the tips I know, but it didn’t work.
Now, while for our small business it was a costly decision, there are companies who had to face way, way, way harder decisions.
And some made the same mistake: reacted under emotions. I had to do something just to feel that I am responding to the new situation.
That’s a common human’s reaction to ambiguity. We quickly do things – any things – without proper research. In psychology, it is called action bias.
“I have to do something, even if I don’t know what to do”.
“Doing nothing is always somewhat embarrassing, even if it is the right thing to do”.
While it is nice to analyze your past behavior like this, I was wondering what I can do to avoid this in the future. And I was lucky enough to speak with two smart ladies who each shared a tool that can help in situations you have to make decisions and you are affected by emotions.
Shopping cart for decisions
Basically she suggested using a “shopping cart” for our decision during the time of crisis. Or actually anytime our decision might be affected with strong emotions.
Why the shopping cart? Apparently, that’s how women shop online.
When my fiancée was looking for a new swimming suit, she visited 3 or 4 websites. On one of them, she put 20 (TWENTY! 😱) products in the cart. That was on Sunday. On Monday, she went back to that website and removed a few of them. On Tuesday, she made an order with a total of 5 products. (good luck to all e-commerce marketers who are trying to analyze this! 😊)
Now, I’m not saying all the decisions you’re taking in your business are equal to buying a swimming suit. Some need to be taken urgently but most of them can wait 1 day. And there’s usually a way higher cost associated with taking the wrong decision than waiting 24 hours.
If you have an important decision to take (and you have a comfort of time), note it down, put in your shopping cart. And get back to it in 24 hours. If it still sounds like a good move, go ahead. But sometimes, when you sleep over things, you might find that your brilliant idea from yesterday is not that brilliant after all.
Oh boy, if only I knew this before I spent that money and time on launching the service our business was not ready for.
This tool was shared by another amazing guest of our podcast – Simran Samtani. Listen to her explaining it.
In short, it means that before you make a decision, you look at it from the perspective of:
- 10 minutes
- 10 months
- 10 years
For each, think of how would you feel about this, what would the decision mean for your business by then. And I would add: write it down. Write down your 10-10-10 perspective to see on paper what impact your decision might have.
Cutting salaries or letting people go is a great example of a situation where you want to use this tool.
I did feel very bad when I had to let someone from the team go. I hated it and I was taking it personally because I knew it is admitting my mistake at the same time. I did something wrong in the past if I have to fire that person now.
Either I hired a wrong guy or I miscalculated how the business will go.
And because of this immediate feeling, I got paralyzed and in a few cases, I kept working with someone I shouldn’t have.
If I were able to look at the decision with the perspective of 10 months, I would probably see that there is no chance this person is adding value in 10 months and it will be a burden to keep him in the team. In today’s scenario, I can imagine looking at 10 months’ perspective and realizing “if I don’t let go 10% of my staff today, even the other 90% will probably be jobless in 10 months because we’ll be out of business”.
And if I were – back then – able to look at my decision with the perspective of 10 years, I could have asked myself “Do I want to work with this person in 10 years?”. And I know my answer would be big HELL NO.
But I didn’t do it because I was overwhelmed with immediate emotions and I saw only that 10 minutes perspective.
Both tools seem to be helpful for different types of decisions but either way, you will probably make better decisions than just listening to your emotions. Good luck! 🤞
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