Success Demands Decisive Decisions

By: Ken Keis

"A weak man has doubts before a decision; a strong man has them afterwards."
-Karl Kraus German philosopher (1781 - 1832)

Success Demands Decisive Decisions

Every day we are all faced with numerous decisions. Some decisions are mundane, such what we are going to wear; other decisions are life-changing or life-threatening.

As a society we celebrate othersí abilities to make decisions quickly. Could you imagine having indecisive firefighters, police, doctors, and airline pilots? Of course not!

But every day, we meet individuals who not only frustrate us; they lose credibility with us when they canít make a decision.

If you want to be successful and a leader individuals will follow and respect, you MUST have the quality and character of being decisive AND of making a decision, period. By the way, was that last statement written in a decisive manner?

Everyone reading this article is a leader. Yes, everyone! You are a leader at some level with someone. It could be at home as a significant other and/or parent. It could be at work, as a volunteer. And certainly, you are responsible for the leadership of your own life-fulfillment and your purpose. Your success is linked to your ability to make decisions. No exceptions!

In his classic book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill conducts analysis of over 25,000 men and women who had experienced significant failure. Lack of decision was one of the major causes.

Procrastination, the opposite of decision, is something almost all of us must overcome.

And one more dynamic of decision-making must be mentioned:

"Successful individuals (everyone I reviewed) had the habit of reaching decisions promptly, and changing these decisions slowly. People who fail to be successful, without exception, have the habit of reaching decisions very slowly, if at all, and of changing these decisions quickly and often."
Napoleon Hill

Your success is dependent on your ability to make decisions and your ability to stand by them and not go back often to change them. This does not mean you will never reverse a decision but, if you do, frequently, you will not be respected or trusted by others. They will just wait for you to change your mind, again!

You cannot be a decisive decision-maker if your decisions are mostly based on public opinion. Yes, we all should seek feedback and othersí opinions at times, but if you can only make decisions when influenced by others, you will have no desire of your own.

Every group of individuals will have some kind of opinion. But opinions are a cheap commodity. If you run your life via committee, you are destined for disaster. Decisions in the end must always come from the decision-maker. You must be able to keep your own counsel and be clear about your values, be confident in your decisions, and be healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically to make decisive decisions.

Example. Just under a year ago I was elected to the board of our childrenís private school. I must admit we inherited a mess. The previous board would not make any difficult decisions. They procrastinated. They wanted to be liked and popular instead of leaders called upon to make decisive decisions. The result was moral, emotional, and financial bankruptcy.

The new board (all but one of the previous board resigned) is a decisive decision-making group. To save the school meant making difficult and, in some cases, very unpopular decisions including laying off staff, firing incompetent staff, and changing the entire way the school was being lead. If we had listened to popular opinion, we would not have made those difficult decisions -- and would no longer have a school.

Of course, the individuals with the loudest negative opinions left our school. But we stood by our decisions. No popular opinions were going to change what we felt was the right leadership decision. Our group did our research, gathered the facts and reviewed them, then decided, quickly.

The results have been miraculous. The atmosphere in the entire school has never been more positive. The staff communicates and cares for one another and is supportive and open. This week the Ministry of Education auditors did a complete review of our school and stated it is one of the best that they have ever audited.

The new school situation was achieved in less than six months of decisive decisions, which overcame more than five years of procrastination, decisions by popular opinion, and simple neglect.

Being indecisive drains your energy and leaves you weak, both emotionally and physically. A mind-made-up brings tremendous extra energy and power.

So how decisive are you? Has your success been compromised by your indecision or decisions that you make and change quickly?

If I asked your close colleagues and friends, what would they say about this characteristic in you?

Making decisions and being decisive is a choice. I have found in many years of coaching others that a significant percentage of individuals do not know where to start. Their whole life has been around reacting to othersí opinions and being burdened by their own lack of decisions.

If that is your case, your most important decision is to learn how to make decisions that fit you and your purpose and path.

To help you on this path, let me suggest three options.

Many individuals want to figure out the formula to make the right decision every time, but that is not a realistic objective.

1. You want to ensure that you limit and avoid the wrong decisions. To do this, you need to make value-based decisions, not content-based decisions. You first must establish, confirm, and own your core values. If you cannot verbalize or list the core values that influence your decision-making -- at once, with absolutely no hesitation -- you will not be able to make consistent, decisive decisions.

2. Your confidence level will highly influence your ability to make and keep your decisions. To maintain your position (decision), your self-worth must be strong and high.

3. Your stress and health level with affect your ability to make sound and grounded decisions.

Many years ago, when I was introduced to CRG, three powerful assessments helped me with my decision-making abilities. If you want to improve your decisiveness, those assessments can help you, as well.

ē The Values Preference Indicator will help you determine your top values and assist you to compare the values you might think are important to those that are really important.
ē The Self-Worth Inventory will help you determine your confidence and self-esteem in six primary categories. Confidence is situational; there can be areas in your life where you are very decisive and other areas where you are not. The SWI will help you to determine this.
ē The Stress Indicator and Health Planner with take you through an evaluation of five critical health and stress areas in your life. If you canít decide whether or not to take these assessments, what does that tell you about your decision-making?

Successful individuals, without exception, have the habit of reaching decisions quickly.

This Week's Action Steps

Demanding Decisive Decisions

1. Lack of decision-making is one of the major causes of failure.
2. How do you make decisions: slowly or quickly?
3. After you make a decision, do you keep it or do you constantly change or reverse your decisions?
4. Do you rely on othersí opinions to make your decisions or do you keep your own counsel?
5. Are you able to make unpopular decisions and feel comfortable when you do so?
6. Are you clear about your core values, required for decisive decisions? If not, take the Value Preference Indicator to confirm your core values.
7. Do you doubt your decisions and constantly second-guess yourself? If so, take the Self-Worth Inventory to establish you confidence level, in six categories. Also review where you hold your ground and where you do not -- and why.
8. Is your overall health and stress level effecting your decision-making? To confirm this, take the Stress Indicator and Health Planner to establish your health and stress in five areas of your life. Determine whether your physical and mental condition is affecting your decision-making.
9. Own the fact that your success is determined on your ability to make decisive decisions.
10. Develop the habit of making decisions, establish your core guidelines, take your own opinion seriously, and take others; opinions second -- or not at all. If you are already thinking about excuses why you canít, I think you have a clear outline of your condition.
11. Just do it! Get started now. There is absolutely no honor or value in procrastination.

Until next time, keep "Living On Purpose",

Ken Keis

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Ken Keis is an internationally known author, speaker, consultant, & President of CRG. Many professionals herald CRG as the # 1 global resource center for Personal/Professional Development. For information on CRG Resources, please visit

For information on Kenís Training and Speaking Programs, please visit

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