When it comes to making difficult decisions, conventional wisdom says Trust your gut. Recent research affirms the connection between your gut and your state of mind. Stanford University’s Justin and Erika Sonnenburg write,
“The enteric nervous system is often referred to as our body’s second brain. There are hundreds of million (sic) of neurons connecting the brain to the enteric nervous system, the part of the nervous system that is tasked with controlling the gastrointestinal system.”
So it turns out the connection is not just metaphorical.
It might seem like a no-brainer to suggest that good decisions are the number one ingredient in business success. What might not be so obvious is that making decisions fast and frequently could be the key to making better decisions. Excess ruminating, debating, evaluating, and general overthinking can lead to worse decisions. (For more on the rationale behind not waiting for 100% certainty, see my post on adaptive leadership where I shared a quote on the USMC’s decision-making process, “As you get closer to the problem, the solution gets clearer. Action is critical.”)
Good decisions are essential for both effective leadership and successful followship. They’re also crucial to career advancement, whether you’re an entrepreneur or corporate employee. But how can we learn to make better decisions?
What we know is this:
Incomplete information now is better than complete information in the future, because information keeps changing. By the time you’ve examined every angle of a problem, the problem has evolved, and if you’re seeking perfection, you’ll waste a lot of time checking and rechecking. And the problem keeps changing.
It’s also important for the employer to create an atmosphere where failure is tolerated. Jeff Bezos famously encourages a risk-friendly culture at Amazon because that’s where innovation comes from. Encouraging fast and frequent decision-making empowers your employees while enabling them to make increasingly better decisions. This allows the leader to make better use of his or her time.
The more actions we take, the more information we have. So go ahead: Trust your gut, and dare to act.
And don’t forget to download my newest ebook on niche marketing, Narrow Thinking. The link is down below.