[no_toc] As an employee, looking back, my life was quite simple. Of course, I had to deal with challenges on a daily basis, extinguishing “trouble spots” or calming down angry customers. In the end, however, I knew that difficult decisions were always made in consultation with my supervisor and that the consequences were always manageable and calculable.
All that changed when I took the plunge into self-employment.
No safety net, no second chance, no shared responsibility.
Every decision suddenly had (sometimes unforeseen) consequences. Good – bad – painful – irrevocable.
When I founded my company, I was initially completely overwhelmed due to the many (legal and organizational) tasks.
During that time, I learned one of my most important lessons:
Making good and purposeful decisions is one of the most important qualities that a female entrepreneur as well as a professional and manager must possess(I have listed here what else distinguishes successful from unsuccessful female entrepreneurs).
It’s not just about getting all the necessary information and weighing it up. You have to get into action and you have to do it quickly, thoughtfully and consistently.
The following questions are particularly helpful here:
- What matters to me in making this decision?
- What are the consequences of my decision on others?
- Do I want to make this decision now and can I stand behind it?
- To what extent does my decision affect other processes in my professional (corporate) or private environment (time, money, structures, power structure, etc.)?
- What are the benefits of making this decision?
Once you have asked yourself these questions, the following is about establishing a good decision-making process.
I have written down my five tips on how you can manage to make purposeful, structured and successful decisions.
1. find out what your “Code Red” is.
We often treat many items on our to-do list with the same intensity and give them a correspondingly similar priority. As a result, we quickly become overwhelmed as we strive to maintain balance within our to-do list and consider each task important.
Establish a “traffic light” and prioritize your tasks according to urgency.
- “Code Red” means “on fire.” If this task is not done, it directly threatens my existence. I have to take care of it immediately (!). This often includes finances (invoices, accounting, taxes, etc.), legal issues, or immediate deadlines.
- “Code Yellow” means: it is quite tricky, but it can be done in a certain time frame, which, however, should be strictly adhered to. This includes, for example, private tax returns, project-related concepts or deadlines with a certain lead time.
- “Code Green” means: it is on my to-do list, but if left undone for now, it is not threatening to my existence and can only be done in the near future. This involves many conceptual things: evaluation, content creation (blog/podcast, etc.), social media or sales tasks.
Everyone has different categories here. For example, a podcast can become a code red if it is essential for maintaining one’s own (financial) existence. Basically, it’s about categorizing and prioritizing tasks.
As a coaching tool, I can also recommend the Eisenhower Principle, which can help you prioritize.
2. reduce your daily decisions
Use a digital or analog time management tool to pre-plan all your decisions (as much as possible). Of course, something unexpected can always come up, but no one wants to think about what to cook for himself and the family after a busy day in the evening at 18:00, while they are already demanding and courting attention around you. Breaks and private tasks (cooking, shopping, sports) are just as much a part of your schedule as pure business tasks. If we let the former run “on the side”, we will soon find that our private life is out of balance because we are running behind our business schedule.
3. make data-based decisions
Many companies have a large amount of data. The talk is then often of “Big Data”. However, go one step further and use “Smart Data”. Start by linking past decisions and their consequences to key performance indicators (KPIs) and evaluate them in a targeted manner. Anyone can collect data, but making it accessible and using it for business decisions is the free skate. So if you’re at an important commercial crossroads in the near future, pick up past annual reports or balance sheets. It is the same with marketing decisions. A glance at completed advertising campaigns, traffic evaluations or user flow analyses is all it takes to know exactly what to do next.
4. automate your plan
No one has time to spontaneously think about new products and offers every day, to create additional new content and to entertain followers or fans on social media channels. In addition to good planning, use automation software (e.g. Hootsuite or Buffer) and outsource permanent tasks (e.g. taxes or marketing, etc.) if they do not give you pleasure and only burden you in terms of time. No one has to do everything alone. If there are tasks that other people can do better and that just take up a disproportionate amount of your time, pass them off to experts.
Remember: As a success woman, you think not only in the currency of “money”, but also in the currencies of “time and value”.
5. overcome your fear by tricking your mind
I’ll let you in on an open secret: everyone has anxiety, it’s just that most don’t talk about it. Fear is basically not a bad thing, as it only wants to protect us from making the wrong decisions. Equally, however, she is a terribly bad advisor. It paralyzes, stirs up doubt, and tempts us to act defensively and make rash decisions.
If you have your fear (of the new, the unknown, the seemingly dangerous) under control, you retain sovereignty over your decision-making power.
My Tip: When you come into a new situation that seems to throw you out of your comfort zone in the most brutal way, keep calm. The first feeling is not the decisive one. What is important is the action that happens in the next moment. So if fear or even panic seizes you in a situation, focus on a specific point or person in your environment. You will find that when you intensively study, for example, the arrangement of the floor tiles or count the spotlights on the ceiling, your mind at the same time is not able to tighten your inner monologue of fear.
There are countless other strategies that can be used in the personal, professional or business decision making process. What matters in the end, however, is that you make a decision in the first place and that it feels good to you.
I’ll go one step further here and claim: Every decision means either success and/or a learning process in the end.
About the author
Kinga Bartczak berät, coacht und schreibt zu Female Empowerment, neuer Arbeitskultur, Organisationsentwicklung systemischen Coaching, und Personal Branding.
Zudem ist sie Geschäftsführerin der UnternehmerRebellen GmbH und Herausgeberin des FemalExperts Magazins.