The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “How do you make tough business decisions?” is written by Anthony Soohoo, cofounder and CEO of Dot & Bo.
During a time when private technology startups with sizable funding rounds and sky-high valuations are facing ever-increasing scrutiny, the decision–making skills of business leaders will be fiercely tested. This year we can expect to see an influx of executives faced with making critical choices that will result in the demise of their company or prime it for success. Throughout my experience working at Apple (AAPL), Yahoo (YHOO), CBS Interactive (CBS) and currently as co-founder and CEO of Dot & Bo, I’ve had to make decisions that weren’t always pleasant, but the lessons learned were imperative to my success. Here’s a snapshot of how I deal with tough decisions:
Find time to take a breather
Since launching in 2013, Dot & Bo has expanded furiously, doubling in size each year. We’re laser focused on maintaining the fine balance of continuing growth while heading to profitability — challenges that aren’t easy to address in the current market. So the first thing I do when faced with a tough choice is step away from my desk, and take time to collect my thoughts and reflect. Giving yourself time to go for a run, do yoga or simply nap, allows you to refocus on the big picture. This way you’re making your difficult decision with the best possible mindset.
Separate your emotions
When tensions and emotions are inevitably running high, don’t react impulsively. Weigh the pros and cons, and ultimately consider the long-term effects of a decision. During my time as a product manager on Apple’s PowerBook team, we found that a very small sample size of our soon-to-launch device was flawed — and I was tasked with deciding whether or not to bring the product to market. On an emotional level, our team had been working tirelessly on this new product for months and we wanted nothing more than to unveil it to the public. But thinking logically, if the flaw was bigger than we thought, it could have created a huge loss of trust with our customers. Because we couldn’t risk consumer confidence, I concluded that we had to delay the launch until we were sure the issue was properly resolved.
Commit to a decision
Once you decide on a decision, own it. See it through and if it happens to have not been the “right” decision, keep moving forward and take the appropriate steps to correct your course. Not every decision will be perfect. But at the end of the day, all you can do is make the most well-informed choice given the data and information you have access to.