Making Better Decisions by Removing Emotion

One of the things I had trouble with for a long time was making a personnel change when someone wasn’t a good fit for their role. Once I hired someone, I’d invest time getting them up to speed and getting to know them as a person. When goals weren’t being met or performance wasn’t up to par, I struggled with what to do. The data and other facts were telling me one thing and my personal connection with the person was telling me something else. In most instances, the personal connection prevailed—often to the detriment of the team member.

Looking back, I was prolonging the inevitable. Most of these team members were great, smart people; they just weren’t good fits for the roles they were in. The more we tried to pound a square peg into a round hole, the more frustration swelled on both sides. When I recognized this and made a change, things started to go better for them and the business. Sure, there was short-term discomfort, but they transitioned to a position they were better suited to (with CCAW or another company).

I see now that my emotions have sometimes hindered me from making tough decisions. Subtracting feelings from the process is difficult. It requires taking a situation at face value, deliberately ignoring what you’re feeling, and reaching the appropriate decision. That’s no easy task, especially when the decision affects others and isn’t popular.

This is something I’ll probably never master, but I can aim to get better at it. I do a better job now of identifying when it’s happening—the first step. When I think it is, I get input from credible people (sometimes writing down my decision-making process and sharing it) before making a decision.