What Early Advice Has Influenced Your Decision-Making Process?

What Early Advice Has Influenced Your Decision-Making Process?

We've gathered wisdom from top executive leaders, including CEOs and Vice Presidents, to share the most impactful advice they've received. From the importance of offering strategic options to the power of combining data with intuition, explore these eight pearls of wisdom that have shaped the decision-making of today's industry trailblazers.

  • Offer Strategic Options
  • Confront Your Fears
  • Decide with Full Information
  • Aim for Mutual Gains
  • Embrace Strategic Pivots
  • Understand Customer Experience
  • Listen More Than Speak
  • Combine Data with Intuition

Offer Strategic Options

Early in my human resources career, I received advice that I should offer "options" to the executives with whom I worked when decisions were needed. I was taught that I provide both strategic and tactical value when I bring options to the table. I use the same approach in my own executive leadership decision-making process. I take time to weigh options ranging from non-risky to risky. This provides me the confidence that I've reviewed many sides of the issue in a thoughtful way before a decision is made.

Kate Walker
Kate WalkerFounder, CEO, Kate Walker Consulting, INC

Confront Your Fears

I wish I'd learned this earlier in my career: never let fear dictate your decisions. It's easy to fall victim to false evidence appearing real, but by confronting our fears, we can see situations more clearly. By removing the fear, we are negating the reaction or emotion attached and able to be fully attentive to the situation.

Melissa Blatt
Melissa BlattFounder + CEO, indipop

Decide with Full Information

Regarding decision-making, I was advised to delay making a decision until I had all the pertinent information and to never make a decision when emotionally overwrought. One should only make decisions when in a calm state. Recruiting teaches you to be flexible and to expect the unexpected. In order to make good decisions and present the best candidates to clients, we need to have all the details to give top results.

David Alford
David AlfordVice President, Bristol Associates, Inc.

Aim for Mutual Gains

My mentor once imparted a crucial lesson: Negotiations shouldn't be zero-sum games where one party wins at the expense of the other. Instead, the aim should be for all involved to gain something valuable. This advice proved invaluable, especially in navigating the intricate dynamics within an organization where department heads often advocate fiercely for their respective teams.

The key is creating an environment where all parties feel comfortable expressing their needs and concerns. By fostering open dialogue, individuals could articulate why specific requests were important while understanding the broader impact on others, even those they might not have initially considered.

In my experience, this approach led to more constructive discussions and an increased willingness among stakeholders to embrace outcomes that might not have aligned with their initial preferences. It emphasized the importance of empathy and collaboration in reaching mutually beneficial agreements, ultimately fostering a culture of cooperation and understanding between the parties.

Kimberly Bogues
Kimberly BoguesFounder/CEO, Flourish Business Consulting

Embrace Strategic Pivots

Years ago, my mentor told me there is no shame in changing directions, and I took this advice to heart. Prior to this, I had been single-mindedly pursuing an idea that, deep down, I knew had run its course. But machismo and pride kept me going, certain in the misguided belief that shifting processes was an admission of failure.

The truth, I realized quickly after changing tack, is that people actually respect you more if you're able to pivot when things aren't going well. What felt to me like determination came across as stubbornness to others.

Nowadays, I take pride in constant evaluation and consideration. I'm always asking myself if there is a better way to accomplish my goals by adjusting strategy.

Rob Reeves
Rob ReevesCEO and President, Redfish Technology

Understand Customer Experience

Early in my career, I was told, 'Know your customers' experience better than anyone else.' This wisdom has propelled my business, ECD Automotive Design Inc., to success in delivering custom-restored Land Rover Defenders.

For example, our decision to pioneer the electrification of classic vehicles came from understanding that our luxury clientele values both modern innovation and nostalgic memories.

Tom Humble
Tom HumbleCXO & Founder, ECD Auto Design

Listen More Than Speak

One piece of advice that profoundly influenced my approach to decision-making came early in my career from a mentor who emphasized the importance of "listening more than you speak." This advice might seem simple, but it has deep implications for leadership and decision-making. By actively listening to others—whether team members, peers, or mentors—you gain a broader, more nuanced understanding of the issues at hand. This practice has encouraged me to always consider multiple perspectives before making decisions, ensuring that these decisions are well-informed and balanced.

For instance, during a critical phase at Spectup where we had to decide whether to expand our services internationally, this advice guided me to consult extensively with the team, including those who would be directly affected by the expansion. By listening, I learned about potential challenges and unique opportunities that I hadn't fully considered. This collective insight led to a more strategic and successful expansion plan, tailored to mitigate risks while maximizing our growth potential.

Niclas Schlopsna
Niclas SchlopsnaManaging Consultant and CEO, spectup

Combine Data with Intuition

Early in my career, I received a piece of advice that significantly influenced my decision-making process: "Always base your decisions on a combination of data and intuition." This principle has guided me at Dental SEO Expert, where decision-making can often seem daunting due to the rapid changes in digital marketing landscapes.

Applying this advice, I always strive to gather as much relevant data as possible before making decisions, especially those that affect our strategic direction. However, I also value the insights that come from direct experience and gut feeling, particularly in situations where data may be incomplete or ambiguous. This balanced approach allows me to make more informed and confident decisions.

For example, when expanding our services to include more advanced SEO techniques, the data supported the growing demand in the market, but it was my intuition about our team's readiness and the potential for scalable growth that ultimately led to the decision. This strategy paid off, resulting in a significant increase in client satisfaction and a 30% growth in our customer base within the first year of implementation.

Ihor Lavrenenko
Ihor LavrenenkoCEO, Dental SEO Expert

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