Big Decisions, Big Impact and Maybe a Big Outcome You Didn’t Expect

Big Decisions, Big Impact and Maybe a Big Outcome You Didn’t Expect

In April of this year, Dan Price, President of Gravity Payments, a credit card processing firm headquartered in Seattle, WA, decided that over the next three years everyone in his 120-person company would have their annual salary raised to a minimum of $70K. Regardless of their position or what they had previously earned, every employee across the board would be raised to this level. (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/14/business/owner-of-gravity-payments-a-credit-card-processor-is-setting-a-new-minimum-wage-70000-a-year.html)

By July, three months later, the response to this change was again front-page news in the New York Times. (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/business/a-company-copes-with-backlash-against-the-raise-that-roared.html) Price found that, despite his best intentions, not all of his employees were content with the change. Even some of his clients were uncomfortable with his sudden move. Though in general Price’s decision was made with a kind heart, there were unexpected negative repercussions as well.

Sound familiar?

As a business owner you make important decisions every day. Some of these decisions are critical to your operations and reputation; others fly unnoticed and cause barely a ripple in the fabric of your company.

However, if you fail to make the right decisions it can damage your company; and if you fail to make timely decisions the damage can be even more severe. Here are some actions that can help ensure that all your decisions have a positive outcome.

What do you want to accomplish?

Ask yourself: “What’s my goal by making this decision?” This is an important question that should be answered before taking any action. The more definitive you are about what you want to accomplish, the more clarity you will have about how to prepare and execute.

Do your homework.

Any decision requires that you conduct your due diligence and evaluate the impact from a range of perspectives, including financial, human resources, operations and processes. Most big decisions touch many departments, and the impact must be looked at in a circular, rather than linear, manner.

Brainstorm with business peers and trusted advisors.

The saying “It’s lonely at the top” is oh-so-true when you need to make a big decision on your own! Consult with people that can provide you with their wisdom and perhaps even speak to their own personal experiences with a similar situation. Most business owners have a group of “trusted advisors“; ask them to poke holes in your idea and see how your decision can then be justified.

Hire an expert.

Depending upon the potential impact of the decision, it might be highly advantageous to hire an expert to help guide the way. This individual should have credentials and a track record of success in working with similar situations and with companies of your size and industry.

Do a cost-benefit analysis.

Every decision comes with a price tag. Your decision might be a good one; however the cost to execute can be prohibitive. Assess the financial implications before taking any action.

Implement in stages.

Some big decisions can be broken into smaller steps so that the impact can be evaluated before moving on to the next action. This is a careful and cautious way to institute big change. It allows employees to become accustomed to the change and for the appropriate processes and procedures to take effect.

Making important decisions can be stressful, however if you take the proper steps you can be more confident that the desired outcome will be attained. And remember, trusting your gut is NOT a decision-making strategy.


Taken from the September 2015 Unique Business Solutions Newsletter

February 24, 2016