Forget about Perfection—Make Good Decisions and Learn from Them

I want to share more of what I’ve learned about self-awareness, which I recently posted about. A few months back, I took the StrengthsFinder assessment. Of the 34 qualities measured, my top two strengths are that I’m analytical and deliberative. StrengthsFinder defines these as follows:

  • Analytical – You search for reasons and causes. You have the ability to think about all of the factors that might affect a situation.
  • Deliberative – You are best described by the serious care you take in making decisions or choices. You anticipate obstacles.

This assessment was spot on. I’m a natural thinker and enjoy spending time considering possibilities and contemplating different scenarios.

When I read my results, though, something dawned on me. When I was younger, I was hindered by not realizing that I’m wired with these two traits. In the early days of CCAW, I tried to gather every scrap of information and understand every possible outcome before making a decision. It took me longer to decide about anything than it should have because I was aiming for perfection.

Speedy decision-making and execution are important to entrepreneurial success. Ideally, you should make the best decision you can with imperfect or incomplete information, execute on it quickly, learn from what happens, and apply your newfound insight next time. Doing so repeatedly is foundational to building a company. And you get pretty good at making decisions.

Venture capitalists often look at speed of execution when they’re considering investing in an entrepreneur. And for good reason. It’s an indicator—one of many, true—of the entrepreneur’s chances of success.

I’ve become mindful of how long I take to make a decision and execute on it. I’ve embraced reality: I’ll never have all the information, and there’s no such thing as a perfect decision. I make the best decision I can in the circumstances, carry it out, and analyze how things turn out so I can do better next time. Things don’t always turn out the way I’d hoped, but I’m always learning.

What have you learned that’s helped your decision-making?