Big Decision On The Horizon? Use This Two-Step Process

We all face big decisions in our lives.  You’ve either just made one, are currently making one, or are about to make one!

This week I’ll share a framework I recently discovered from one of Canada’s leading business figures. A fellow east coaster, Annette Verschuren has held CEO positions at Home Depot Canada and Asia, led the opening of Michaels Canada, and now heads up NRStor, a Toronto-based energy storage project developer. Let’s take a closer look at how Annette’s decision making process can help you.

In her excellent book, Bet On Me, tough decisions can be made easier by following this two step process:

Step #1: Align your decision to your core values

Step #2: Don’t worry about making the “right” decision. Instead, make it right by taking actions to ensure its success

Determining your values is all about defining who you are and what you stand for.  Most of us instinctively know “who we are” but may have trouble verbalizing that in terms of actual words.  Doing a proper core values exercise will tease out the values that best define you.  When times get tough (and they will), you can fall back on them to guide you.  A filter of sorts, against which all decisions should be made.  For example, if you are offered a significant salary to join a new company, and that company’s culture goes against your core values, you have a big decision to make.  Taking the job, while appealing on one level, will likely end poorly if it doesn’t align with who you are.  Years ago I thought determining my core values was a crock of shit.  Some weird thing a consultant would pitch and others wasted time on while I got work done.  Little did I know how important it was.  I will do a deep dive on this topic in an upcoming article so stay tuned.

Step #2 is the step that most people don’t spend enough time on.  As Annette points out on page 80, “people forget to execute their decisions. They don’t realize that it’s your actions that make a decision right or wrong, not the decision itself.”   I couldn’t have said it any better myself.  We dwell, over think, and worry about making the right decision, all the while convincing ourselves that the important part is “thinking it through.”  In reality, its the action you take that makes it work!

Think back to a time when you made a big life decision that had a positive outcome (ex. ended a relationship, moved to a new city, changed jobs).  It’s very likely because you took action and made the decision work.  The successful choices I’ve made came to fruition not because I pondered it forever and hoped for the best.   They worked out because I gave them adequate thought, made the call, and then spent my time taking steps to make it happen.

As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

Put this two step process in your back pocket and use it going forward.  I’d love to hear how it works for you!