Don’t make a questionable decision worse…know when to fold ‘em
I have had the opportunity to sit on several boards as well as be part of some amazing management teams, both in the profit world as well as non-profit. I have enjoyed the opportunity to participate. One characteristic that is universal in what I would term “effective” boards or management teams is the ability to recognize a suffering initiative or project and take the appropriate action….cut it. That’s right, knowing when to fold ‘em is the hallmark of a good team not afraid to do the right things.
I have also seen “not-so-effective” teams refuse to end a failing initiative or project because of the time and effort that are already “sunk” into it. Not to mention the personal capital that may be expended or exposed. Hello….these sunk costs are in the past….throwing more resources at projects that are duds doesn’t raise the chances of winning, either personally or professionally. In fact, they may have the opposite effect. Here’s a good way to see which category you may fall into and then point you in a better direction:
Seek a neutral opinion: Talk to peers, colleagues, mentors, or advisors that are outside the decision circle. They won’t be as rooted on the past or future and will be more likely to tell you the straight skinny as it relates to next steps.
Take the noose off your neck: Everyone makes mistakes…and I mean everyone. What is the real skill and one that sets people apart is the courage and ability to reverse or change course when things are not adding up either financially or operationally. You will be more respected and trusted if you evaluate openly rather than ride the past decisions into the ground.
Fear of failure is real the enemy: Many great outcomes come from strategies that were altered along the way. That’s a healthy and successful process. Encourage this type of flexibility in your decision making. Don’t get me wrong, outcomes are important, but the process of strategic course correcting will insure your teams get better outcomes more frequently.