Be Decisive in Times of Crisis

December 14, 2010 § 3 Comments

“Hi Coach, how was your week?” Jake asked as he sat on the sofa.

“Tough week due to the number of decisions I had to make,” I replied.

“Can we discuss that today?” Jake asked.

“Which one?”


“Alright,” I said. “But let me cite the value then we will discuss the process.”

“The value would be decisiveness,” Jake said.

“Right, let me define it,” I said.  “It is the ability to make sound decisions especially during critical moments.”

“By critical moment you mean in times of crisis?” Jake asked.

“Yes,” I said.  “Leaders and entrepreneurs are forced to make decisions regularly.  The toughest times are when they have to make sacrifices.  Or, if the decision is unpopular.”

“What else makes decision-making hard?” Jake asked.

“Well, you have to live with the consequence should it be the wrong decision,” I said.  “And your popularity will be at risk.”

“What is the opposite of decisiveness?” Jake asked.

“We can say, avoidance or fear,” I said, “or maybe procrastination.”

“But not making a decision is a decision in itself, right?” Jake said.

“If you want to play with the meaning, then yes.”

“Have you had those times, coach?” Jake asked.

“As an entrepreneur, of course.  As a leader, of course.  As an Entrepreneur Coach, of course,” I said.

“How did it feel especially during crisis times?” Jake asked.

“Stressful!” I said.  “Though there were cases where decisions had to be quick and there were cases where decisions had to be delayed.  Knowing when was important.”

“But the decisions still had to be made, right?” Jake said.

“Yes, there is no way around it,” I said.  “Like you said, an indecision is a form of decision.  An indecision is a decision to surrender to the forces of circumstance.  It is to give up control.”

“When should a decision be delayed?” Jake asked.

“When you need more consultation,” I said, “and when you have the luxury to delay it a little bit more. It is circumstantial.”

“I hope I can learn to be a good decision-maker,” Jake said.

“It takes practice,” I said. “But let me assure you that you will make wrong decisions.  No one is perfect. Every seasoned leader knows that.”

“That is reassuring,” Jake replied with a bit of sarcasm. “How do you cope up with the wrong decisions?”

“I learn from it,” I said, “and I move on.  Feeling bad about it does not help.”

“You mentioned earlier about a decision-making process,” Jake said.

“If it is a crisis, the first is to identify the problem, second is to search for the root causes,” I said.  “Please note that there can be more than one cause.”

“I see.”

“Third is list down short-term, mid-term and long-term solutions,” I continued. “Fourth, is to get third party perspective.  Fifth, prepare resources.  Sixth, assemble the team who will implement the solutions, and seventh, tell the team to just do it.”

“What else should I know aside from this process,” Jake asked.

“Balance facts and gut,” I said.

“By gut you mean, intuition,” Jake said.


“How do you do it?” Jake asked.

“After reviewing all the data, I set it all aside.  I calm my mind and heart.  I reflect.  Then I decide,” I said.

“Isn’t the data good enough?” Jake asked. “Why use the gut?”

“There is no such thing as a complete data,” I said.  “The time of quietness and reflection should help you integrate the forces that are unseen.”

“Unseen?” Jake wondered.

“Five years ago, did you foresee the global financial crisis?” I asked.


“Ten years ago, did you foresee that there would be a 9/11 incident?” I asked.


“Twenty years ago, did you foresee how the internet would affect our lives today?” I asked.


“But some foresaw,” I said.  “With a bit of uncertainty, a combination of facts and gut, they made their decisions.  And they got breakthroughs.”

“Wow,” Jake said.

“But the opposite can be true,” I said. “You can also lose big time like the internet and real estate bubbles that blew up.”

“So decision-making is not a perfect science,” Jake said.

“No it is not,” I said. “In fact, I think it is more of an art.”

“That’s another thought-provoker,” Jake said.

“There is much to say but that is all for now Jake. See you next week.”

© Eduardo R. Pilapil Jr. 2010

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