How do you know when to make big decisions?
Our office lease expired last month. Since our lovely office mates, Crush, had moved out quite a few months ago as a result of the pandemic, it didn’t make much sense for us to hang onto such a big space just for us.
The question was – do we look for another smaller office? Or do we sit tight for a while, seeing as we’re mostly all working from home anyway? Would it be ok not to have a “home” for a while?
Running a business comes with the inevitable big decision making every now and then: hiring new people, taking on extra risk, making a big investment.
How do you know when it’s the right time to “push the boat out”, as my mom would say? And how do you know whether the decision you’ve made is the right one for your business?
I didn’t realise that Liz and I actually have a bit of a routine when it comes to making active decisions like this (which are different to the decisions we make when we’re under pressure, in a defensive position) until Mulesa asked me about it. Everyone has a different approach, I’m sure.
We have a snack.
You should never make big decisions when you’re hungry. Or tired, if you can help it. These are fairly universally applicable tips.
We use our vision like a compass.
Having a clear vision for the business is like setting a course for a ship. If we know where we want to go, the type of business we want to be, the kind of work we want to do, the kind of day we want to have at work, it’s easier to make decisions that will help us get there. It also makes us aware of factors that will sway that course in any way that’s greater than we feel comfortable with – and navigate away from them.
We also sometimes remind ourselves of the niche we’ve carved out for ourselves.
Over the last seven and a half years, we’ve come to know – and really cherish knowing – what we’re good at and what we aren’t. This can be such a helpful guide in making a decision, particularly when it comes to deciding whether or not to pursue a certain project.
We listen to each other.
It’s a bit of an office joke that Liz and I almost never disagree, but that’s not entirely true. When we start a discussion we don’t always see things the same way. Here’s the secret, though: this is actually an asset. It’s so helpful to see something from someone else’s perspective because they often spot things that you don’t. So we always listen openly to each other, play devil’s advocate, and we will either find a middle ground (which can be the strongest position), or decide that the other person makes an excellent point and adapt our position accordingly.
This sounding-board approach is one of my favourite things about our partnership.
During this part of the process, we go through all the options and potential ramifications logically and methodically.
We also often ask the team for their opinions. They are thoughtful, clever, insightful people, our Pomegranites, and it helps us to know how they feel about big decisions.
We put that all away for a moment, and sink into the “feeling” of the options. Having gone through the decision-making as a mental exercise, we’re almost always left with a gut feeling of what we’d like to do. A knowing.
As we were packing up our old office, I found a potential new one on Private Property. Liz went to look at it and took me on a video tour. It was lovely. There were pros and cons to it, as there always are.
We spoke to each other. We spoke to our team.
We started very much on the fence. In the end, it was an easy decision. We’ll work from home for the next six months (which our team has been doing so brilliantly during the pandemic), save on rent, and give ourselves the time to find the perfect spot.
Sometimes the best course of action when you have two big choices is big and bold.
Sometimes it’s waiting.