Don’t Let Uncertainty Paralyze Your Decision-Making

When you’re living in a period of heightened uncertainty, especially as a small business, your normal decision-making processes can break down. You may become paralyzed and afraid to act, or you tend to make quick decisions based on emotions or bias rather than facts. Sometimes you might be doing excellently and unaffected by uncertainty, but you might be getting frustrated and unnerved to see your trusted colleague or business partner going through such a phase. Well, we all have had times like this.


The post-pandemic time - you, your business and more

The post-pandemic time is no different, except that you are now also dealing with lost or unresponsive customers, labor shortages, cash flow issues, supply-chain problems from your suppliers, reduced demand for your services etc. If you are reading this post, you are probably looking for a solution on how to get over this bad time period. On top of your already stressed day, and challenging business issues, how are you to deal with your own issues?

Here are a few time-tested methods!

You can make careful, reasoned decisions by taking a strategic pause to stop and assess what information you have — and what you’re missing.

1. Identify what kind of data you’re working with and biases that might accompany it.

For example, some data from your business captures our attention because it's surprising, but we might overweigh it because it’s new or noteworthy.

2. Identify which information matters most to your decision-making.

There are an endless number of “known unknowns” out there, and exploring them all won’t help you. Instead ask yourself: What do I really need to know to move forward?

Finally, formulate questions that will help you get the answers you need.

Organize your questions into four categories —
  • Behavior – is your situation a result of a particular kind of behavior or action? Is seasonality affecting your cash flow? Is it a tough supplier?
  • Opinion – are your being influenced by someone’s idea or something you heard somewhere? Does your gut-feel say something different than what you are hearing or being asked to do?
  • Feeling – Challenge yourself to understand what caused your present feeling? Was it something that happened earlier today or this week or was it something someone said? Or, was it really dislike of what you yourself think of it that is causing you to react this way?
  • Knowledge – Do you have as much knowledge as possible to take this decision? If you made a call and it didn’t go well, would you regret it? Furthermore, could you quickly check with someone you work with or someone you respect to get their take on it? You might even think of using Google search to type in your question (related to your situation) to see what others might’ve talked about or gone through.

The idea here is that you bring both distance and a variety of perspectives to how you interpret the data.

Once you get a hang of it, you’d know exactly what set of decisions (or options) to take to move ahead. Remind yourself that the results are not necessarily in your control with whatever choice you make.

With such thinking, you’ll soon see yourself not being paralyzed anymore and doing the right thing for growing your business. Following these practices will help you better address your emotional responses, name and confront them, and make more rational decisions in the face of uncertainty.

  Wednesday, March 31, 2021       Blog