By: Kathy Kent Toney, President of Kent Business Solutions
4 Tips on How to Avoid Becoming a Flat Squirrel
Flat squirrels?? What does that have to do with anything? Actually, a lot!
But before I explain that, here’s a funny video I’d like to share about one really smart squirrel!
Anyway, here’s the full quote “flat squirrels” is taken from:
Be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The world is paved with flat squirrels, because they couldn’t make up their minds.
I’m sure none of us wants to become part of this club! But I know we all experience days we’re decision-fatigued, when choosing being several options is a challenge.
Take me, for instance. I’ve been racking my brain to decide what to write about for this article. I realized I was struggling with this myself, so what better topic to discuss than what I’m going through!
So, what can we do to avoid becoming a flat squirrel?
I did some digging to find out some best practices. What I found was some great info published by Michael Hyatt. With that I’m adding my own twist to his suggestions.
This first tip is a no-brainer, but how many of us forget to do this?
If you’re in a management position in your organization, do a scan of all your responsibilities and determine what you can delegate to your employees. And if you’re finding it hard to let go of some hands-on responsibilities, that may be part of the issue. Ask yourself…
Why am I reluctant to let go of _____?
More often than not, understanding and dealing with why you’re reluctant to delegate makes it easier to start offloading responsibilities. Then make a decision to start delegating away!
If you’re not in a management position (or even if you are), the Stephen Covey 4 Quadrants time management tool can really be helpful. Focus on Quadrant II (in either case), and if you are a manager, take note of Quadrant III!
2. Develop and Use a Standardized Process for Making Tough Decisions
Michael Hyatt suggests building a process that considers all variables. Here’s an example:
When your team members come up with new ideas to implement, have them fill out a standardized form that includes:
That way, your analysis will be minimal…all you have to do is say is “yes” or “no”.
One of my clients followed this approach and it made the approval process much more streamlined. As a result, more ideas became reality, which really benefited the company.
3. Construct Your Process to Prevent Repetitive Decision Making
When you create your standardized process, make sure it prevents the tendency to make the same types of decisions over and over. There's such power in doing this!
Here’s a real-life example:
I teamed with a brand-new Business Development organization to develop a sales process. It was definitely needed…Sales employees for a brand-new Business Development organization were going after low-dollar volume opportunities based on "gut-level instinct”, while they ignored larger opportunities. Pursuit decisions were one-offs, causing repeated conversations with the Director for approvals, which included repetitive discussions on what types of opportunities he wanted the team to pursue.
That’s when the Director tasked me to facilitate the development of a sales opportunity review/approval process.
The team and I got to work. We created a robust process which included an Excel tool that graded each opportunity entering the pipeline as “go” or “no-go”, based on set criteria. This tool also determined what levels of oversight were required as it moved through the funnel and which approvers needed to be involved. That way, some opportunities could fly under the radar with little oversight while others required higher-level approvals and more monitoring. For example, a $100M opportunity would need approvals by a VP while a $500K opportunity could be approved by a 1st level manager.
The results were pretty amazing…repetitive decision making became a thing of the past, and the sales process ran like a champ. Ever better yet, use of the process over a period of nine years resulted in an increase in sales from $85M to +$300M. Not bad for a bunch of sales people that were once running amok!
So what's the takeaway here? A standardized process can reduce repetitive decisions, which in turn increases bandwidth for making more important decisions. And who doesn’t want that!
Another thing you can do to take your business processes to the next level is automate them. Doing so can take even more manual decisions and activities out of the equation. A tool like the Accelerate Platform is a good example of this.
4. Take Good Care of Yourself
This is an area so many of us struggle with. As well all know, getting enough sleep, eating right, managing stress and getting plenty of exercise is often put on the back burner, due to the demands of life.
What if we made this a priority? It’s a known fact that doing all the above contributes to better decision making. If we did this on a regular basis, could you imagine the positive impacts of all the decisions we’d make? If we stacked them all together, we’d have a wealth of great decisions, which would create a great foundation for us to lead our companies well.
If you’d like to make that foundation even stronger through improving your processes, I can help with that!
Click here to schedule a virtual coffee. I’d love to learn more about your organization and explore potential ways to take it to the next level!