Two weeks ago, I made a poor business judgment decision, one out of character. Since then, I’ve thought about it quite a bit—how I might learn from it, why it happened, and what steps I can take now.
Like most sales leaders and sellers, I derive energy when working alongside others. And working remotely, while having plenty of advantages, does create challenges and potentially this pitfall for sales leaders—business judgment vacuums.
In my own scenario, I sent an email in frustration (a poor business judgment act), without taking a “beat” between thinking and doing. In the past, being in an office environment allowed me to take a five-second walk to a trusted colleague’s door to bounce off options or blow off steam. A step away from my desk allowed me to smile at others … and just that small act would put me in a different mindset.
At home, it’s not as easy. That quick walk to be around other humans may not be available. And phone calls or zooms might be an interruption, or time-consuming. So, what other options might one do to not fall into a business judgment vacuum?
- Keep ego in check. Is the decision you’re about to make the best one for the company and your team, or for you? If in doubt, it helps to sleep on it before taking action. And setting up an email delay can be a life-saver.
- Make the plan, write the email … and step away. Do something else, move your mind into another business activity. Go back later and reconsider if it’s still the best course of action.
- Take 10 minutes to think through future consequences of the decision or action. What is the intended outcome, what is the best outcome, what is the worst? Is your decision or action leading to the best one, or might it elicit unintended consequences?
- Don’t succumb to tunnel vision. If your first couple of choices don’t seem to be the best fit, work to consider other less obvious alternatives and pull in others when needed.
- Maintain one trusted person. Maybe it’s the one whose office door you used to go to or a colleague in our industry but not at your station. Or a mentor or retired peer. Just make sure the relationship is mutual; you’ll be helping yourself and them.
- Delegate decisions, not just tasks, either to capable individuals or a team. It keeps you in touch and re-distributes some of that weight sitting on your shoulders.
- Sometimes, as a leader, it can feel like the success of the company hinges on you and your ability to make the right choices, right now. Don’t fall trap to time constraints that aren’t there, or else ask for more time if needed to make the ‘best’ decision.
And remember what I missed in that judgment lapse moment … we may be home alone but we’re not “in it” alone.