What can you do to avoid making wrong decisions?

What can you do to avoid making wrong decisions?


When you’re “blitzscaling” a business, you’re bound to make some bad decisions.

But, are there things a CEO can do to avoid making a poor decision while still scaling?

Personally, I’m fearful of making a bad decision as a CEO. That’s why I turned to other business leaders and CEOs in our community at Terkel to figure out how they avoid making bad decisions.

Here’s what they had to say about how to avoid making wrong decisions.

What can you do to avoid making wrong decisions?

From taking a moment to being truthful with yourself, here are 19 answers to the question, “What can you do to avoid making wrong decisions?”

  • Take a Moment
  • Think Through the Problem
  • Conduct a Pre-mortem Analysis
  • Trust Yourself
  • Learn from Previous Mistakes
  • Weigh the Options
  • Avoid Decision Fatigue
  • Let It Go
  • Get Enough Sleep
  • Don’t Rush
  • Gather and Analyze Data
  • Remember There’s No Simple Solution
  • Avoid Making Decisions When You’re Emotional
  • Work Closely With a Mentor
  • Move With Integrity
  • Make Choices on Your Time
  • Be Mindful of Ego Depletion
  • Prevent the Usual Pitfalls
  • Be Honest with Yourself

Take a Moment

Sometimes, making the wrong decision is inevitable; however, at other times, we can avoid making wrong decisions by taking a moment to really consider the situation.

Feelings that are irrational or out of the norm often influence wrong decisions and it can seem like these feelings will last forever. If you take a second to realize you should wait to decide, it can produce a better outcome.

This will also give you time to consider which decision will align best with the way you want your future to unfold.

Saneem Ahearn, VP of Marketing, Colorescience

Think Through the Problem

Think through the problem methodically, and don’t be afraid to ask for another perspective on the matter. Consider how the decision you make can affect other people, and take the time to weigh your options carefully.

By considering every angle of a situation, you can avoid making wrong decisions that could cause more harm than good in the long run.

Michael Fischer, Founder, Elite HRT

Conduct a Pre-mortem Analysis

A pre-mortem analysis is a preemptive approach to allow decisions to be made by imagining a negative outcome first and figuring out what caused it. 

It can help you be objective and less emotionally attached to your decision, allowing you to identify potential challenges and understand the perspectives of others more easily.

Doing this makes potential problems expected and takes action to mitigate them before they occur. By identifying and addressing potential risks, creating contingency plans, and allocating resources to address potential issues, you can develop a simple plan for monitoring and measuring the success of the decision and make adjustments if necessary.

Natalia Brzezinska, Marketing and Outreach Manager, PhotoAiD

Trust Yourself

You cannot totally avoid making wrong decisions, but one thing that can help is not relying too much on the advice of others.

If the outcome of a decision is negative, chances are it won’t feel as bad if you decided versus if someone else told you to make it.

This is because you would have to face the fact that you trusted someone else more than yourself. Believe in yourself, and your true intuition will steer you in the right direction.

Miles Beckett, Co-Founder and CEO, Flossy

Learn from Previous Mistakes

We all make the wrong decision from time to time, but it’s important to analyze why we made that decision and how we can avoid doing that in the future.

What experiences have you had in the past and how can you apply them to the situation in front of you? From here, we learn to grow and make the right decision.

Ann McFerran, CEO, Glamnetic

Weigh the Options

Sometimes the wrong decision means taking the less optimal route. If you needed to get across town quickly, for example, and had to choose between a taxi and an Uber, you might consider the one that got you there the slowest to be the wrong choice, even though both would take you to where you wanted to go.

If your idea of wrong hinges more on efficiency than it does black-and-white hard choices, then the most important thing you can do for yourself is to take the time to run through the scenarios different choices will make for you. Consider your needs and how each choice helps you to reach your goal.

Think about what the best and worst-case scenarios of the choices you make would be and if you’re equipped to handle them. No matter what, don’t rush yourself or let others rush you. Good decision-making takes time. You can’t be right all the time, but the more careful you are, the less impactful a wrong choice will be.

Max Schwartzapfel, CMO, Schwartzapfel Lawyers

Avoid Decision Fatigue

“Decision fatigue” is when you’re making a series of decisions in a row. It takes a toll and makes you less effective when you have a series of decisions to make, especially big ones. Prioritize and organize when to make these choices by using a list or calendar. You can probably pretty easily decide which coffee to get at your local place every morning. But deciding to, say, bring on a business partner shouldn’t be the last item of the day or following a series of other high-stakes ones. You can mitigate decision fatigue by prioritizing and calendaring to help you avoid making the wrong choice.

Karim Hachem, VP of E-commerce, Maxine of Hollywood

Let It Go

Ask yourself if a decision will matter in five years. Often, we fret over things that are transient. Why worry over something that won’t matter in a few years or even tomorrow?

If the decision you need to make won’t matter in five years, then you likely can’t make a wrong decision.

Therefore, go with your gut and let the worry go. In the end, worrying about past choices of little consequence can hinder future choices that matter more. So, learn to let go and you will position yourself better to focus on the things that matter.

Liza Kirsh, Chief Marketing Officer, DYMAPAK

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is one of the best ways to avoid making wrong decisions. When we don’t get enough sleep, our brain functions are impaired and our abilities to make sound decisions are diminished.

Poor decision-making can lead to negative consequences, both in the short and long term. By ensuring we get enough sleep, our minds can function optimally and we are better able to make sound decisions.

Research has shown that people who get enough sleep are better able to focus and process information, which can help them make better decisions. One way to ensure that you get enough sleep is to practice good sleep hygiene.

This includes avoiding screens and caffeine at least two hours before bed, setting a regular bedtime, and creating a comfortable sleep environment by keeping the room dark and cool. Establishing a relaxing pre-bedtime routine, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath, can help you drift off to sleep more easily.

Diana Royanto, Writer, Milkwhale

Don’t Rush

With deciding on important matters, one thing I have learned over time is to never decide in a hurry and to take my time to consider many factors beforehand. Taking our time means thoroughly considering all options and potential consequences that may arise from the decision.

 

During this thinking process, it is also very important to gather necessary information, whether by consulting others such as friends, family, or experts in the matter, and possibly gathering data from the internet.

By taking the time, we will manage our emotions and avoid any bias. However, it is also necessary to set a realistic timeframe for the decision because, eventually, opportunities can pass us by.

Georgi Todorov, Founder, ThriveMyWay

Gather and Analyze Data

Gathering and analyzing data is a crucial step in the decision-making process, as it allows you to make an informed decision based on facts and evidence rather than gut feelings or assumptions.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when gathering and analyzing data: identify the problem or question you need to solve. Before you gather data, it’s important to understand the problem or question you’re trying to solve.

This will help you determine what data you need to collect and how you will use it. Collect as much relevant data as possible from both internal and external sources. This might include customer feedback, market research, financial data, and competitor analysis.

Will Gill, Event Entertainer, DJ Will Gill

Remember There’s No Simple Solution

You can’t avoid making mistakes; instead, what you can do is consistently learn from your mistakes in a way that means you are less likely to make them in the future.

It helps you to make better decisions moving forward and build a repertoire that is based on experience, skill set, and belief. Nobody enjoys making wrong decisions, whether personally or professionally, but all we have the power to do is consistently grow and make better decisions, hopefully making wrong decisions less, and considering our actions more carefully.

As long as we are trying to do what’s right, then we shouldn’t let wrong decisions play on our minds.

Brett Downes, Founder, Haro Helpers

Avoid Making Decisions When You’re Emotional

When our thoughts are attempting to control a shortcoming, they are at their most vulnerable. Avoid making significant decisions when you’re emotional, exhausted, hungry, preoccupied, or pressed for time. No matter what the cause, I believe the effect is always the same.We make rash decisions when we feel the need to appease one of these unfavorable feelings. We don’t properly consider the facts because our focus is elsewhere.

Daniel Foley, Founder, Daniel Foley

Work Closely With a Mentor

There’s never any assurance of completely avoiding the wrong decisions; however, if there’s one thing you can do to ease it, it’s to work closely with an experienced mentor. A mentor from your industry is likely to know the pitfalls that come with the journey and thus help you avoid them. A mentor will not only help you navigate most challenges but will help you redefine what you think is a mistake, to begin with.

Guy Sharp, Relocation Advisor, Andorra Guides

Move With Integrity

If you’re afraid of making the wrong decisions, ‌if there’s one thing that can keep you on track, it’s your integrity. When deciding, consult with your moral compass to know if what you want is truly right for you.

If your decision brings positive results to yourself and those around you, it’s safe to say that you’re making the right one.

Asma Hafejee, Senior Marketing Executive, CMR Surgical

Make Choices on Your Time

Make no decisions when you’re unwell, hungry, or in a hurry. A poor decision is more likely made under a variety of physical conditions, not just fatigue. Decisions that are crucial require thoughtful clarity.

Illnesses affect your judgment, and your mind is engaged in other fights and cannot give energy to important choices.

Hunger is a similar problem; hunger pangs are the body’s way of alerting us we are going to function less than optimally. More than any other choice, this issue will occupy our minds the most; the only options that will matter more are fight, flight, or freeze.

The same thing happens when we are hurried and running late; we cannot focus on the crucial choice and often freeze. These conditions stir our emotions as our minds alternate between options that are urgent, so positive things rarely take place.

Himanshu Sharma, CEO and Founder, Academy of Digital Marketing

Be Mindful of Ego Depletion

Research shows that people experience a phenomenon known as ego depletion when suffering from decision fatigue. Ego depletion theory holds that self-control, rational thought, and willpower draw from a finite pool of mental resources, which can run dry. Decision-making effectiveness is likely to waver upon Ego depletion, despite a person’s best efforts. We recognize that decision fatigue, mental exhaustion, and even just regular tiredness have the potential to reduce our ability to decide, and then act accordingly.

Research shows that taking a break, having a nap, or even having something to eat can reverse Ego-depletion, improving our decision-making capabilities.

Remember, even the most rational person is vulnerable to this experience and should avoid making important decisions when feeling mentally drained.

Ben Schwencke, Business Psychologist, Test Partnership

Prevent the Usual Pitfalls

There are some areas where a lot of us frequently make poor choices. Making judgments based on best-case assumptions or speculating about potential negative outcomes are two examples.

Pay close attention to those areas if you consistently have problems deciding. Enforce giving yourself enough time and getting all the information to make the best choice. Other potential hazards include getting stuck in the “what worked before” mindset or being overly proud of your accomplishments.

Tim Parker, Director, Syntax Integration

Be Honest with Yourself

Many times, surroundings and emotions influence decision-making. Investors, for instance, responded favorably to the red background when they presented the same information on it as opposed to the green.

Judges impose tougher penalties when they are hungry. The cheeseburger, however, should wait until your upcoming important team meeting—I predict all it takes to overcome these distractions and enter a more objective frame of mind by staying aware of the surroundings and your sentiments.

Shakzod Khabibov, Co-Founder, Natura Market

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