Building blocks help in making decisions

score Question:
My partner has a rough time making decisions. How can I help?

If he's a perfectionist, help him gather the information he needs to feel comfortable.

Don't expect him to choose a path quickly or without all the details. If he's overly concerned about how others in the company view him, explain that making the decision will help them do their jobs better.

If you think he's procrastinating to maintain the power in your relationship, give him a deadline. he must decide by then or you'll go ahead with a specific course of action.

You also can help your partner by giving him a framework to follow. The steps below will make the decision-making process easier:

  • Define the real problem or concern. For example, do you need to fire a person, or is it really a matter of how to make your customer-service system stronger?
  • Identify the desired outcome. Do you want to remove an employee who has few customer-service skills or do you want customers to be happier about the experience with your firm?
  • What are the alternatives? Brainstorm every option together, from the obvious to the insane, without any judgments.
  • Consider the pros and cons of each choice. If there's time, encourage your partner to discuss the conflict with someone outside the company. His spouse, friend, mentor or counselor may give him fresh ideas.
  • Do it. At this point, he must make a choice and carry it out. You may need to help him create an action plan.
  • Review and evaluate. Monitor the results on a regular basis. Talk to your partner to make sure he understands how his decision affect the company.
  • Allow him to accept responsibility. Give him the credit for positive results if they weren't as positive as you'd wished.
These techniques will help your partner realize that making decisions is an important part of running any business and that he can do it with the best of them.

Bill Bryan is a counselor with the Service Corps of Retired Executives. SCORE offers counseling, workshops and seminars on small business operations. You can reach Bryan through SCORE, 515 N Court St. 815-962-0122, for information and appointments.

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