Stop playing the “what-if” game

This article originally appeared on bizjournals.com/charlotte

” I have zero regrets.”

There seems to be a yearning to authentically apply that phrase to our own lives. It’s human nature to frame past decisions in a positive light where possible. In business, it’s important that we continue to view life choices that were a detriment as a potential learning opportunity. 

When it comes to business and leadership choices, we must be nimble, agile and precise decision-makers. With that being said, there is one game that we must avoid at all costs. It’s a no-win proposition. The “what-if” game. It might be fun to play from a devil’s advocate position on the front end, but not once the results are in. 

Here are four ways to avoid or at least limit the what-if game. 

Trust your team

If you’re a successful and intelligent leader, you have realized that it’s not all about you. You must rely on others within your organization more than they rely on you. There are so many aspects within the function of a business that it’s impossible for you to oversee them all with the focus necessary to make them successful. 

Trust your team to make decisions and provide solutions. If the results are less than optimal, don’t question the direction. Instead, concentrate on what was learned and how to apply those lessons to future scenarios.

Trust yourself

Trust goes a long way. This includes trusting yourself! If you don’t trust yourself to make a decision, that’s a significant problem, especially if you’re in a position of leadership. Now, I just told you to trust your team, but there will be situations where you are called upon to give your stamp of approval and drive the process. 

Take steps to arm yourself by maintaining a consistent rhythm around learning. Secondly, connect with others who are dealing with the same decisions. Business forums and leadership groups and invaluable. Lastly, take care of yourself. Health matters. Creating clarity by focusing on the above will allow you to make more confident decisions. 

Learn and move on 

Every decision and the subsequent result doesn’t call for a research project and multiple meetings to discuss. Oftentimes, we overanalyze with the hope that somehow the outcome is going to change. It is important to gauge to what level something should be scrutinized, pinpoint the key takeaways and discuss with the right people. After that, as is often the case in life, the best thing to do is turn the page and move on. Hit that big red reset button on your desk and start afresh. 

Get aligned

Significant decisions should not be made in a vacuum. As a leader or business owner, we all have the license to make important decisions on our own. Frank Sinatra once wonderfully sang, “I did it my way.” While that approach might be helpful in a multitude of other situations, it’s not helpful when it pertains to weighty decisions. 

It is essential to align with your team to talk through the options on the table. The impetus behind this approach is to make sure everyone is committed and totally aligned. When that happens, the team owns the decision rather than the individual. No matter what happens, you’re in it together. 

In closing 

We all deal with decision-making on a daily basis. Some of us face weightier decisions than others. Regardless of the degree, they have to be made. 

Remember, change is an inevitable part of our businesses and existence. Dare to try new things, surround yourself with the right people and learn from every choice. 

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