"I used to be indecisive, now I'm not sure..."
The key to good management is decision making. While you need to make a lot of decisions on a daily basis, there are a few big strategic decisions that you need to make at the right time. It is important that you clarify what these decisions are and never let anything get in the way of them.
The recipe for a good decision requires two key ingredients.
1. What is the outcome you are aiming to achieve? Are you clear on what the goal is? Is everyone involved in making the decision clear and agreed on what the goal/outcome is? Don't assume. Discuss and clarify.
2. What meaningful information do you have to support the decision? If you're making a financial decision, do you have historical numbers or some analysis done? If deciding on buying/selling livestock, do you have current stock numbers and an assessment of feed available? If deciding what crop to grow, have you done gross margins and considered available moisture?
My observation is that indecision costs us more than a poor decision. We rarely make a bad decision at the time of making the decision. It is only with the benefit of hindsight that all the unknowns become known. When you make a decision, you put yourself in control of those aspects you can influence. When you avoid making a decision, external factors are in control and you get pushed around. So make a decision and then monitor and adjust.
So, what are some of the big decisions you need to make? It will depend on your business, however here are a few to consider. When do you join, when do you wean and what do you need to do to achieve the desirable body condition score at calving? Is stocking rate matched to carrying capacity? What animals will you sell/buy and why? What crops will you plant, when, how and why? When will you harvest? What labour demand and skills will you need and how will you meet them? What working capital do you need to operate and how will you access that?
These are important decisions that can make or break a business. Take control of your business and make the best decision you can, based on the information you have, in line with your goals.
- David is chairman of consulting and education company RCS Australia.