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A Glimpse Inside The Minds of 5 Great CEOs And Their Secrets To Good And Swift Decision-Making

A Glimpse Inside The Minds of 5 Great CEOs And Their Secrets To Good And Swift Decision-Making

The greatest CEOs make decisions all the time. They just don’t make them like most of us do.They don’t agonize and deliberate over decisions. They make decisions on the fly and they do it with swiftness and purpose.

How?

They have a structured, minimalist approach to decision making. The decision making process is as sleek as a fighter jet is aerodynamic.

In this post we’ll look at some of the greatest CEOs in recent history and I’ll show you exactly how their individual decision making approaches led their corporations into the history books.

On the face of it, decision-making sounds really complicated and scary. The truth is all great CEOs have a specific approach to decision-making – a clear decision making framework.

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Sure, every great CEO operates with his or her own signature style. But, one thing’s common to all of their approaches: they have their decision-making rules in place long before they even approach a decision.

This enables them to make decisions quickly and consistently in line with their chosen direction. They also used this framework to delegate decision-making through their organisations.

Are their decisions always right? No. But are they always consistent with direction that the CEO decided upon at the start of the company’s journey. You betcha!

And it’s the consistency over time that’s aligned with one direction that has led these companies into the history books.

Another interesting thing about these CEOs – they used their decision making frameworks to buck the trend. They did something radical. They all did something that flew in the face of conventional wisdom. They zigged when the world zagged.

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Let’s have a closer look at five of these game changing CEOs.

1. Steve Jobs (Apple)

Jobs adopted a minimalist approach and ruthlessly axed more than 70% of Apple’s product lines as soon as he was reinstated as CEO in an amazing turn of events (after having been ousted as CEO a few years earlier). He had one main focus : delivering spectacular customer experience innovative design and simplicity of use.He even cancelled the Newton PDA which wasn’t a very popular decision at the time. But Steve’s minimalist approach to product design was clearly in place well before he made these decisions.

2. Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway)

Warren Buffett is unquestionably the greatest investor of all time. His approach to making investments boiled down to buying into great companies when they were undervalued by the market and selling them when they were overvalued. Having started with nothing, Warren Buffett’s personal assets were valued at around $57 billion when he was ranked the richest man in the world. Buffett’s approach to decision-making around investing is very clear. If you’re not going to hold a stock for 10 years then don’t hold it for 10 minutes. Once again, Buffett’s decision-making framework was well in place before he made a single investment decision. He continues to operate with essentially the same decision-making framework that he had in the 1970s.

3. Jack Welch (General Electric)

Welch focused on three strategic circles and insisted that they rank within the first two globally. In 1981, Welch declared that his company would focus its operations on three strategic circles. Each of the businesses had to rank first or second in its global market. Any businesses that didn’t rank in the first two were disposed of. By 1988, its 300,000 employees generated revenues of more than $50 billion and net income of 3.4 billion.

Jack didn’t suffer fools. He got very clear about his objectives, developed a clear decision-making framework and   then executed on it.

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4. Richard Branson (Virgin Group)

Branson focused on customers and not critics. This overarching approach helped Branson make controversial decisions to enter very competitive new markets such as airlines – something analysts frowned upon at the time. Since then Branson’s led Virgin into mobile phone services, financial services and expanded to about 40 companies that span a myriad of other industries. Like Jobs, Branson let his customers priorities direct his decisions. He successfully defied ‘conventional wisdom’ and made his mark in very challenging environments.

5. Jeff Bezos (Amazon)

Jeff Bezos has an uncanny ability to understand the truth of situations and how they may change in the near future. He uses this approach to defy conventional wisdom about how things should be done, and makes revolutionary game changing decisions.  Amazon has revolutionised the way we shop over the last 20 years and continues to do so.

How to become a great decision maker

Here’s the thing about being a great decision maker: You become a great decision maker by making decisions often. It’s like anything. You get better with practice.

Sure, you’re going to screw up quite a lot at first. Every one of these people did. But they got better with practice.

Decision making is a skill that develops over time. And you can’t develop the skill in a vacuum either. You can’t spend hours agonizing over each decision and then tentatively placing your bets. if you want to join the big league then you’re going to have to take risks. Often! But the more risks you take, and the more mistakes you make the better you get at making decisions.

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You can do this

You want to become a great decision maker? You can. You want to walk into the history books? You can. Start by making decisions on the small things today. Decide on doing one small thing right now. Write it down on a piece of paper and then go and do it. You’ll be amazed at how empowered this makes you feel. It all starts from one small decision.

What are you going to decide today?

 

Featured photo credit: Richie, Robert Yarnal via flickr.com

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Published on January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. Build in time to mess up

1. Respect Deadlines

Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

3. Build in Time to Mess Up

You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

1. Learn to Listen Well

You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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3. Follow Rules

Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

4. Take Notes

Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

9. Minimize Distractions

It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

10. Take Breaks

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

11. Make Time for Reflection

At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

Final Thoughts

Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

Reference

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