By nature, I make decisions slowly. I like to research options and compare. While that works for big decisions, it wastes time for simpler matters. Through interaction with more efficient decision makers (various mentors including my father), and reading of great books (authors John Maxell, Dave Ramsey and Andy Andrews come to mind), I’m learning to make short work of simple decisions.
Lee Cockerell, a former executive with Disney, also suggests a great question for making decisions. In his book, Creating Magic, Mr. Cockerell asks:
“Can we undo this if we change our mind?”
The question forces all decisions into one of two categories, those that CAN be undone versus those that CAN’T. The first category allows for faster processing, because there’s a way back.
Imagine, as an example, the following two topics that we get to consider at Six Sigma Ranch:
- Should we increase vineyard planting by 20% to keep up with demand?
- Should we increase pastured pork production by 20% to keep up with demand?
The first question falls in the CAN’T category. If we plant 10 more acres of wine grapes, we have the privilege of farming them for a long time, whether we want to or not. For that reason, the decision requires a lot of consideration.
The second question is a CAN question. Since we source piglets for our pastured pork from small family farms, and then raise them on our property, we can grow production with less risk. If we were to produce beyond the interest of our waiting list, we could take the excess to auction and recover the investment.
Before reading Creating Magic, I would be tempted to agonize equally over both decisions. Now I can save some energy on one, and use it instead on the other.