Don’t fear mistakes

Q. How do you make smart decisions?

You have to take into consideration the good of the firm or the good of the company. What’s the best thing for the company? From that perspective, if you’re going down a situation where you need to make a decision, I put the pros on one side and the cons on the other. From there, I analyze why this decision makes sense. I analyze why it may not make sense.

Part of the problem why some people can’t be leaders is paralysis by analysis. They get into all the reasons why you shouldn’t make the decision. I’m more interested in why we should make the decision. You need to look at why we shouldn’t, but let’s look at the positive side.

Tell me why this decision makes sense versus why it doesn’t make sense. If you’re going to come to me with a problem, that’s all right and I want to hear about it, but come to me with a solution.

In the end, you do your due diligence and you do your analysis. If you’ve done your due diligence, done your homework and analyzed it not to the point of being paralyzed, chances are you’re going to find you’ve made the right decision.

There are some decisions where you go through all the analysis and you say, ‘I’ve done all my homework, and here’s how I feel about it.’ You don’t know if it’s going to be right or wrong, but you make what you think is the right decision at the time you make it. You have to live with that.

Q. How do you deal with unpopular decisions?

You’re not going to please everybody, and you need to get over that. We don’t have a situation here where it’s leadership by committee. Although I do value the input of everyone in the firm, there needs to be one person making the decision.

You may make an unpopular decision in someone’s eyes, but you need to make it. You need to be convicted and you need to stick with it.

I’m not saying we don’t have a collaborative method, but at some point in time, there’s going to be a decision that has to be made. Leaders make decisions. Whether they are liked or not, you have to make a decision. That’s why some people can’t be leaders. They can’t make a decision.

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