284: The Cost of Slow Decision Making

11 Minutes Read

Succeeding in business can be boiled down to two things: making great decisions and following through on them.

We're going to focus on the first one, noticing how great decisions are more than just the choices you make, but also the speed and confidence with which you make them.

The fact is, many business owners move too slowly with their decisions, falsely thinking that if they just wait a little longer to decide then they will have a better chance of making "the right decision." 

But as with so many other aspects of leadership, making good decisions is a skill that you can improve at, which will help you overcome the analysis paralysis that many leaders experience.

In this episode you will discover:

  • The foundation for confident decision making, and how to build it for yourself
  • A question that will help you avoid beating yourself up over decisions that don't turn out well
  • The hidden resources for your business and life that lie untapped while you mull over a decision


Grow Smooth for Lean Teams will support you in developing and practicing your Vision so you can be a more confident and decisive leader. Learn more and get started here.

If you want a supportive and experienced coach as you navigate the challenges and static of growing your business, we have openings for new VIP 1:1 clients. Learn more and book a consultation here.

Listen to this week's episode on Apple Podcasts here

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Full Transcript

Erin Aquin  0:02  
Welcome to the Superabound podcast with master coaches Erin Aquin and Steve Haase, where business owners like you learn tools to help you clarify vision, clear up static and overcome challenges, you are listening to Episode 284: the cost of slow decision making. Hello and welcome. So we are dabbling with something we're giving it a try. And we totally want to know whether you like it. Some folks have told us that they really appreciate when we put our podcasts on YouTube, because they would rather watch us have a conversation rather than listen. So we hear you and we are giving it a shot. So we recorded a few episodes for you that are going to be up on YouTube at Superaound Coaching or @besuperabound. And this is one of them. So you can hear our fun little married couple preamble, before we get started on that YouTube video. Or if you prefer listening, I like listening to things while I'm walking around doing things. So we were going to keep this format for you as well. And today, we're talking about the cost of slow decision making. Now most people don't realize this. But one of the biggest side effects to becoming a mindset aficionado is that you learn how to make decisions more quickly than I would say the average person, when you know what your vision is, when you know what your values are, when you are not looking and polling every single person in the world before you make a move, you're going to make decisions faster. And so today we're going to talk about how to do that and how to avoid something we think is a big problem, especially for business owners and leaders, which is the cost of slow decision making. So whether you're listening, or whether you head over to YouTube and watch it, we hope you enjoy this episode. And you can get the complete show notes with everything we mentioned over at beSuperabound.com/podcast. Take care.

Steve Haase  2:18  
So we're gonna start with the question of what does it cost you? When he makes low decisions? What is the cost of slow decisions, open loops in your mind things that are unsettled. A lot of people live this way. They open up a loop they have a decision to make and they just kind of let it sit. Think about it, play with it, come back to it, forget about it, remember about it come back to it. And it seems like there's nothing wrong with that. And you know, nothing is happening as a result. But things are happening.

Erin Aquin  2:50  
Yeah, I think it's really interesting because there may be something culturally, at least the way I grew up, where it was, like considered really smart to take a long time to think about things to like, really think things through and make pros and con lists and be, quote unquote thoughtful about your decisions, especially when it comes to something big. Interestingly, as coaches and as a married couple, that has never been our approach. We are not slow decision makers. And I've gotten a little heat from that from time to time from people. We yourself. I just don't think it totally matters. I mean, one example is we got engaged. Nine months after meeting about there. We flipped a coin to decide where we were going to live. We bought the first condo we looked at we bought one of the first houses that we looked at. We bought the first car we test drove.

Steve Haase  4:08  
We have a baby after being married for what? couple seconds.

Erin Aquin  4:14  
I mean, I was pregnant in our in our second wedding. I was very pregnant. I was eight months pregnant already.

Steve Haase  4:20  
We got married in September and then we had like the big party in July and the President's already pregnant.

Erin Aquin  4:25  
Pregnant. So pregnant, so pregnant the summer. And I think the thing is, there's there's a lot of value that's put on making thoughtful smart decisions, weighing things grappling with things. But if you are a person who is in tune with your big vision of what you want in your life, and you are checking in regularly with your gut or your intuition or your instincts however you sort of like to play with that concept. It doesn't have to take a lot of time. grappling with decisions is the thing that takes a lot of time, a decision is made instantly, and then you decide whether you're actually going to follow through with it or not. And I noticed that when I'm working with people, and we're learning, you know, we have a program called Grow smooth. And one of the sections of that program is really teaching you how to make decisions that are in line with your greater vision and your personal and business values. The thing I noticed is, as we're teaching people to do that, what we come up against is, there's this belief out there that there's such a thing as a right decision and a wrong decision. And I realized, after working with a lot of people, I don't think I have that as a default setting.

Steve Haase  5:58  
It's a profound point, like, just just pause for a moment and think to yourself with whatever decisions on your plate, do you think there is a right choice or a wrong choice? Because if you think there's a possibility of, quote, getting it right, then you're going to be slower about it, you're going to not that consulting more context, or getting more input is a bad thing. But you're going to do it in order to avoid failure in order to avoid making the wrong decision. And those are all frames of reference that undermine your power as a leader, even just as an effective person in the world. Where do you think we get the idea that there's a right decision from where does it even come from?

Erin Aquin  6:46  
I think it's something that people like us against themselves after the fact, like it's so easy, think about this, like something, maybe you've made a decision that in hindsight, you wish you hadn't made it. When you do that it's not as though every single thing we decide upon, works out perfectly the way we want it to. But, you know, I think about a decision we made once about our business that ended up actually costing us about $25,000. In hindsight, I go back and I look at all of the things that were red flags to me then that I just sort of ignored, that I glossed over, that I didn't really think through that I didn't bring up with you. And it would be very easy for me to say, Well, I'm just an idiot, I should never have done that it was the wrong decision. And I should have known better. And I actually think that's what most people that conversation with yourself is the one that most people are avoiding when they take a long time to make a decision. But luckily, being in the mindset space, and being a coach, I sort of have this idea that I'm always just kind of making a best guess based on what I know at the moment, my intuition and an outcome I think I can live with. So have you asked me about that $25,000 decision. At the time, we did talk about are we willing to lose this money? If it doesn't turn out to be the greatest path? Are we willing to take a risk? And we were, so I don't beat myself up about it, because we had that conversation. And I think that that may be something we could offer everybody here today. That is something that can help you make decisions without taking a lot of time really agonizing over it is like is the possible upside of this worth the possible downside? That will sometimes just tell you where you are about something.

Steve Haase  9:02  
Yeah, and it will also help you become explicit about what the potential upsides and downsides are. Oftentimes, we walk around with a dread of the downside, without actually playing it out in our minds. And this is one of the things we will do with clients. And it's very powerful to actually say, Okay, let's do the worst case scenario. The whole thing goes to help. What then what does that look like and feel like and what are you going to do? And just allowing yourself to go to that space where Okay, the decision went as bad as it could possibly go? No, it's not worth it. I'm not going to do it. Or what most often happens is, yeah, I can live with that. This this will be okay. But letting yourself really feel it out. is empowering and and can remove that extra hesitation that kind of keeps you from moving forward with it.

Erin Aquin  9:53  
Yeah, and the interesting thing about the worst case scenario as a as a Some brain gymnastics, if you will. What often happens is, you know, the worst case scenario for most people is like, I die alone in a cardboard box. It's a worst case scenario for a lot of people. But the thing is, usually what people come to is like, well, but I wouldn't really let it get that way. I really wouldn't like if my business was tanking because of this idea that I've invested in, there would be a point where I would say, Okay, we need to scale things back, we need to try something else we need to reroute. So even in the worst case scenario for, for many of us, if it's within our control, we're not really at risk of ever actually getting to that place. As far as it's in our control, there was we had a moment in our relationship where we were deciding to what country to live in. We've lived in one country for a while, and we were thinking about moving back closer to my hometown. And we talked about, like, what that worst case scenario really is. And at what point, would we rethink the decision? What information will we need to reopen it and so this will also help you if you tend to be a person who can make a decision. But then after that decision is made, you kind of like flip flop back and forth, and you want to change your decision right after and like, just feel like you're in turmoil over it. Consider that there's really no way you can know if it's the right or wrong decision, until you start walking down that path. And if you walk down a path that you don't really like, turns out is not for you. Be really careful about how you talk to yourself about that. You don't have to, you're under no obligation to beat yourself up about trying something and learning as you go.

Steve Haase  12:14  
Great. So the cost, we didn't talk about the cost, right? We got to talk about the cost. The cost of being hesitant with decisions taking longer than you need to take is that the doors don't open up. The power of making a decision is that you actually start moving down a path, you discover things that you cannot know, from your armchair, you can only know from walking the path itself. And you know, there's all kinds of quotes about this, but like, it is very much my experience that when you start moving in a direction, like when we said, Okay, we're writing a book, we're using a publisher, we're going to launch it on this date. It gives you something to organize yourself around and it gives other people something to respond to. So when you decide, this is our sales process, this is our product selection, this is our pricing plan, and you actually say okay, this is it, let's go, then the world has something to react to. Prior to that moment, you may as well not exist, you know, from a certain perspective, like there's nothing there for people to push against and say yes, or say no to you can't learn anything. If you are in a place of waiting and seeing, getting more info, trying to be more sure. You you can't get beaten up, you also can't get hugged, right, there's nothing happening on the spectrum of interaction with the world until you decide and start to move. Yeah,

Erin Aquin  13:49  
and that's scary. You know, I think just to just to make a lot of room, that is can be a really scary place to be in, it's easy to create whole worlds in your head and really feel like you're doing something because you're thinking about it. But until you put pen to paper until you launch your next class or your next product. There is nothing to for the world to respond to. And you're not in any danger. Your ideas are safe. And you're safe from the opinions of other people because it's not just the world quote unquote responding to you when you make a decision. It's people in your life who are probably going to give you their unsolicited advice and their opinions and tell you why this idea is wild. I cannot tell you how many people flocked at the at the the that how lambda shoot was that we just bought a house, this dream house that we are now in After only looking at like two or three houses, we walked into this house. On a day where we were not even really looking, we weren't really planning to buy a house, we were just kind of seeing what was out there, this house went on the market, we walked into this house, our my best friend, or very close friend, is a real estate agent. And she and I looked at each other and said, This is our house. And when I told people that, that we just went away and put it in an offer, and it was more than we probably should have, have have more than we could have afforded maybe at the time, at that stage. People think it's wild, but then they come into our house, and then they understand. And they see that it actually all unfolded beautifully. We were lucky that it did. But also we created a space for it to unfold beautifully. And that feels really good. It feels really good to say that we had a short conversation, put in an offer, just to see how it would go. And now we're sitting in this space that almost didn't exist for us. If we had and if we had sat and thought about it for a long period of time, we could be sitting in some other house dump some house we don't love. I don't think that's our style. But, you know, like, we could be sitting there and thinking about like, wow, we really had an amazing opportunity. And we let it slip by because we weren't willing to just see if it was turned out to be right for us.

Steve Haase  16:43  
And that is another one of the costs of not taking action when the moment arises is you actually undermine your own intuition, you undermine your sense of the urgency of timing even. And so when you experience that, like, okay, that that confluence of, you know, like, this is the moment this is the way not to be to Mandalorian about it. But you actually kind of go you get in the way of your own momentum, right, you kind of undercut your ability to make powerful decisions and shape your life in a in a profound way.

Erin Aquin  17:30  
And when it doesn't work out, you know, where the house is a beautiful thing that worked out the $25,000 investment, something that did not have a rosy ending yet, maybe it will. But even then, there was learning there. There were lessons there there. I grew a lot as a business owner. As an investor, I learned so much that could never have been learned. If everything always worked out perfectly. Yeah.

Steve Haase  18:12  
So hope this was helpful. I've had a fun time talking about decisions. It's a big part of your output. As a leader, as a business owner, it's a critical skill to learn and develop. We go deep into it, like Erin mentioned with our growth smooth course. So check that out. We'd love to see you in there. It's at besuperabound.com/grow for all the info, and what else.

Erin Aquin  18:40  
And we put pen to paper as one of our decisions. I guess a couple of years ago now. And our book is coming to life. It's being published this summer, we would love to invite you to preorder the book and get some special bonuses if you do that pretty soon, over at beSuperabound.com/book Thank you in advance for your support of this project. It is a life changing book, if you actually use it and apply it so don't think about it. decide you're gonna get the book and actually apply the tools and the support that's in there for you and then let us know how it goes for you.

Steve Haase  19:24