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Effective decision-making strategy in business

By Okechukwu Onwuka
“It’s not what’s happening to you now or what has happened in your past that determines who you become. Rather, it’s your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you’re going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny.”-ANTHONY ROBBINS

In almost everything in life, we have to make decisions. Quite often we are confronted with situations that require us to choose which way to go. Which school should you enroll your children into? Who should you finally choose as partner in Marriage?

How do you convert your talents and skills into a business? What laptop brand should you buy? How can you be sure that you have made the right decision in your office or business location? When is it right to resign from the regular job to pursue your dream business? How do you rescue your faltering business, by expanding your operations or reducing the business scale?

Do you pack up the struggling business and take up a paid job or not? How can you be sure you have made the right decisions on staff recruitment? Do you use force and arm-twisting methods to recover your debts or do you continue to explore peaceful means? What advert strategies are best for your product or service offering? The scenarios that compel us to make decisions are endless.

Entrepreneurs even have more demanding and crucial conditions that require decisions to be taken on a fairly regular and continuous basis.

Personality Types and Value System
People, as a result of varying personality types have different attitudes to decision-taking. Some people embrace challenges instantly and make bold decisions. Others shrink when confronted with make or break conditions. A good number of people are in between. Some others prefer to pass the responsibility to others. Another group simply chooses to ignore the issue, and simply resign themselves to fate. At the core of every decision making point is a fear for the future.

The fear of making the wrong choices. The fear of being blamed for failing. Despite our best efforts, the future will always remain uncertain. No man has control or knowledge of the future, at least not in absolute terms. If we have no certain way of predicting the future, how then do we make choices that increase our chances of success? The answer is really simple.

The best decisions will always be the result of processes designed and driven by deep value systems. As a Chinese proverb says, “A wise man makes his own decisions; an ignorant man follows public opinion” For an individual or organization to make their own decisions regardless of public opinion, and with greater assurance and confidence, it must be build from a core value base. Over time, through instruction, religious bodies, parents, personal experience, influences and other factors, we develop our values.

I recall when I took the decision to resign from my job at ExxonMobil Corporation for full time entrepreneurship. One major issue for consideration was where to locate my business offices. A common preference based on public perception would be to site our offices in Victoria Island or Ikoyi for proper “branding”.

The idea would be to communicate to potential clients that we are solid enough to do business with, simply based on our having an “Island” address. But given that my residence is on the Lekki axis, beyond Chevron roundabout, traffic bottlenecks would cost me an average of 5-7 hours daily. Having considered these and also knowing that the core value of service provision lies in the quality of jobs you have handled successfully in the past, I chose an office location that was less than 5 minutes drive from my home. The location was also on the opposite side of traffic.

Furthermore, I have no regard whatsoever to “posing” or any inclination to show off as having arrived, because I know clearly that there is no such thing as “arriving” or being “made”. Life is a journey that is to be enjoyed through the experience and not to be trivialized by the concept of milestones as connotation of success. By this single decision, I had bought for myself additional peace of mind and more productive hours for real work.

The stress of going through the traffic would not have allowed me get the immediate positive feeling of being retired. Although I still had over 15-20 years more to reach the official retirement service period and age, I still looked forward to some cool difference as I plunged full swing into the uncertain waters of entrepreneurship. By that decision, I realized significant savings in office complex rental costs which a high brow Ikoyi location would have swallowed up.

Once I took the decision, I knew I had taken the right decision. Not even the complaints and comments from several friends regarding my choice could make me regret the decision or change my mind. Earlier this week, at a top business/project contract review meeting, I was surprised myself at the volume of work and projects we had completed within the last two years.

The Chief Executive of the corporation we were in discussions with took recognition of one of the projects we had completed for one of the major corporations and instantly commissioned us to carry out a similar project for them.

This was in addition to other projects already on the table. After the meeting, it suddenly hit me; our clients had not been bothered about our office location not being in Ikoyi or Victoria Island. All that seemed to count was that we had completed several projects and tasks, all verifiable and successfully operating. I could not help but smile. My advice is to always draw on your core values as you screen options against relative merit, cost, challenges, risk and other areas of interest before making business or personal judgments.

This has helped me through several difficult situations in the past. If you don’t have a core value system that you have grown to trust and accept, then you have to back-up a little bit and develop one. The love of the Almighty God, concern for mankind, humility, kindness, truth, patience, perseverance, hard work and continuous learning are some of the factors that can help an individual or organization develop a value-system that can never fail. Never build a value system on money.


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