Leaders and managers, responsible for the success of a business or organisation, are required to make dozens of influential or critical decisions on a daily basis.

These decisions can impact on a number of things; the business as a whole, financial success or failure, staff morale and employee motivation, customers and clients. We understand the importance of making well informed, effective commercial decisions, so we’ve compiled some tips for leaders and managers to make better decisions.

Gather information

Start with the facts. Have you made this decision or one similar before? Do you have any experience to draw upon that will help your decision-making process this time? Or is there anyone in the organisation that has made the same commercial decision in the past that you can seek advice from? Trust your gut and use your head.

Even gut decisions, whilst based on emotion, are still founded from experience, so learn to trust your gut whilst listening to your head. Use your head to analyse the information you have in front of you. Gather any relevant data or statistics that may help you consider the possible outcomes.

Set a deadline

Consider when the decision needs to be made by. Do you have time to ‘sleep on it’ or is an outcome needed immediately? Once you understand the timeframe in which you are working, you can prepare any information required, consult any relevant partners or advocates and come to a well-informed conclusion rationally. A deadline acts as a focus for the mind. Something to aim for. Set one and stick to it.

Step back

Take a step back from the decision in front of you. Consider the implications and impact your decision will have across the business. Taking the time to gain some perspective will help you see the wider factors at play.

Be the fly on the wall and play devil’s advocate, take each of your decisions in turn and consider each outcome by taking yourself out of the situation to see the bigger picture, from a different perspective. You’ll be surprised at the angles you see with this approach.

Risk vs reward

Some commercial decisions carry a greater degree of risk than others but it is worth considering the pros and cons when making any type of business related decision. Make a list of the pros and cons and consider each in turn.

Do the pros outweigh the cons or has your list highlighted a risk you hadn’t spotted? For bigger commercial decisions that have wider reaching implications, bring others into the decision-making process to help you weigh up the risk versus reward.

Have a backup plan

What’s the worst that can happen? Before you make your final decision, consider the worst case scenario and plan for it. The best decisions are made once all of the facts are considered and the risk versus reward established, but there is no foolproof process.

Be prepared. Have a backup plan, and don’t be afraid to execute it. If your decision goes against what you expected or has an impact you didn’t foresee, use your backup plan. The best lessons are learned through failure, but failure is not only a result of a bad decision.