He was a big man and he smoked a big cigar. He was standing beside his desk, with his back to me, smoking a cigar and looking out the window at the city skyline. His presence dominated the room.
That’s how I first saw him. That’s how I remember him. Big and in control.
It was my first day on the job and I was being given the typical meet and greet walk. He was on the third floor, the executive level. I knew it was the executive floor since there was a big sign that said “EXECUTIVE LEVEL”.
In the office marked Vice-President, I was introduced to this giant of a man. As we left and walked down the stairs, my guide turned to me and whispered, “he’s a decision maker”.
That took me by surprise. I wasn’t sure what it meant, or why it was important to me so I nodded wisely.
I soon learned how important it was to be a decision maker when I was assigned to work in his department.
He terrified me. He barked orders. I followed them.
I asked questions. He gave answers.
HE MADE IMPORTANT DECISIONS QUICKLY
As I navigated through the politics of that first job, it wasn’t long before I came to understand how lucky I was to have a boss who was a decision maker, someone who was not afraid to answer questions and make important decisions.
But once I left that first job, I also learned how rare it is to find someone who can make important decisions quickly.
This man was not afraid to make important decisions and he wasn’t afraid to make them fast. Fearless and fast, traits valued in business since he soon left his job as Vice-President to become King of the Universe.
DID HE HAVE A SECRET WEAPON FOR DECISION MAKING?
Fortune favours the brave, at least that’s the way I saw it. He was one of those brave people who don’t hesitate. It didn’t matter if the question was related to ordering lunch or business strategies. He didn’t skip a beat. He simply opened his mouth and out jumped the answer.
I often wondered how he made his decision making choices. Did he have a plan for decision making in business or was it simply intuitive?
Just recently, I met one of my co-workers from that time and as typical when old friends meet; we began to reminisce and recall our days working together. We had both worked for Mr. Big Cigar. I reflected that after years of working for and with people who were reluctant to make important decisions it was a pleasure to have worked with someone who had no fear.
IF ANYONE KNEW SHE WOULD
I asked if she had any idea how he was able to make so many good important decisions. She was his right hand and if anyone knew she would.
Mr. B made a lot of decisions, she told me. What many didn’t realize is that they weren’t all the best decisions. They were close to the best but they weren’t always the best. They were aligned with the goals and objectives of the business, but you couldn’t comment that each one deserved that number one recognition.
The secret she confided was that he made decisions. And because he made decisions he became the decision maker. Some were good. Some were bad. But none were in limbo.
Bad decisions will rise to the top and become visible. Good decisions will float. But no decision will sink you…. fast.
THE SECRET OF MAKING IMPORTANT BUSINESS DECISIONS
What Mr. B. understood is that any decision is better than no decision. And that’s the secret.
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Theodore Roosevelt