Why am I Going to Do what You Want?

Decision Making

Decision MakingEvery time a subordinate, peer or potential vendor asks me to agree to do something, my mind quickly races through a list of eight questions:

1. Do I believe this could be important?

  • If not, why would I do it?

2. Do I believe this will be successful?

  • If not, is there anything I can do to make it successful?

3. What am I being asked to commit to?

  • How much will it cost?
  • How long will it take?
  • How many resources must I commit?

4. Do I respect who’s asking me to make a commitment?

  • If not, it’s much more difficult to agree.

5. May I do this?

  • Do I have authorization to make this decision?

6. Can I do this?

  • Do I have the ability to pull this off?
  • Do I have the resources to pull this off?

7. Who else needs to be involved?

  • Who can help make the right decision?
  • Do I need to line-up the cooperation of others?

8. Will doing this impact my career?

  • Will doing this risk my job?
  • Most of these questions usually could be sufficiently answered without a great deal of effort resulting in a reasonably fast and probably accurate decision. Obviously, the bigger the commitment, the more effort I put into answering each question.

Regardless, since I have biases, I never gave each of these questions the same amount of importance.

1. I often was too quick to be too optimistic about the potential upside of a new idea.

2. I often assumed authorization that wasn’t clearly given.

3. I often didn’t obtain necessary cross division/function buy-in until later than I should have.

  • I strongly recommend that you learn from this mistake.

4. I often didn’t worry very much about the amount of resources being committed…especially if I was enthusiastic about the potential outcome.

  • Somehow, this usually worked out as we repeatedly prioritized projects based on the first two questions about importance and success.

5. I usually forgot to consider the impact on my career, which I believe improved both my decision making and overall career. 

About Richard Sellers

Richard is Chairman Emeritus of the Marketing Executives Networking Group, founder of Demand Marketing consulting firm, and former Sr. VP of Marketing for three multi-billion dollar companies: CEC, WLP, and Service Merchandise. His early career was at GE, P&G, Playtex, and Marketing Corporation of America. He’s also a volunteer counselor for SCORE assisting small businesses in upstate New York. You can follow his communications about marketing, job search and careers here and at mengonlineENTREPRENEURS QUESTIONS, and on Twitter at @Sellers_Richard.



PreviousFacebook Spammed with Porn, Violent Images Next"Verbatim" Search Added to Google

Get Briefed Every Day!

Subscribe to my daily newsletter featuring current events and the top stories in technology, media, and marketing.