The pandemic has changed everything
Rarely in modern history have so many critical decisions been made by so many people.
The pandemic has placed an inordinate amount of pressure on societies, leaders, families, and individuals to make decisions. Some of these are decidedly short-term in nature, dealing with day-to-day challenges faced as a result of the immediate impacts of the pandemic, while others are medium-term as we consider what the world will look like post-pandemic.
All are incredibly difficult and cast in an unexpected light. Values-based decision making can help relieve some of this pressure by helping you make decisions faster, more consistently, and with precious mental energy dedicated to the decision and its outcome.
Values are guiding big decisions
Those in public office have to decide, almost on a daily basis, which measures to impose or adjust in response to the spread of Covid-19 in their jurisdiction. As is evidenced around the world, these decisions can be based on data, intuition, facts or belief, and in all cases, reflect the values, public or private, of the decision makers.
Business leaders have to adjust to the new, sudden, and hopefully short-term reality: their customers are now confined at home. For some, this means business as usual though for most, drastic measures have been necessary to keep their business solvent. Values-based decision making is more important than ever for these leaders to navigate this new reality, even if it means that their values have to shift as a result of the pandemic.
Families are equally caught in the mix of high-pressure decision making as parents decide whether or not to home school their children, to work at home or return to the office, to stay in the city or move to a more rural area. Defined and prioritized values can help with these decisions.
Values are guiding big decisions. What’s your value system?
3 steps to identifying and prioritizing your values
Here are the three steps to define your own prioritized value system.
Under conditions of extreme pressure, decision making has a tendency to become fast and loose. Use values-based decision making – gut feel or data-backed – to relieve some of this pressure and keep your decisions tight.
Here's to better decisions and driving great results!
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Over the next few weeks, I want to share some of the tips and tools that I've compiled to help with making high-quality decisions, and it all starts with values.
Strategy defines where you’re going; values define how you’ll get there.
Why use values when making decisions?
At the best of times, making decisions for your business can be infused with anxiety and uncertainty. Layer on a pandemic and the pressure to make the right decision can feel overwhelming.
But making decisions becomes far easier when you know what your values are. These are the things which define who you are at your core, both personally and professionally.
You make better, higher quality decisions when your values are clear. In general, decisions are a whole lot easier and less time consuming when you know what’s most important to you.
From my upcoming book, Driving Great Results:
You must explicitly define and know your values to ward off inconsistencies in how you make decisions, and to minimize mental fatigue as a result of continually remaking or second-guessing your
Prioritizing your values
This can be one of the most challenging steps in cementing your values system.
In making any decision, different factors will come into play and the strength of one particular value verses another can easily change the outcome. For example, you will choose to invest your money quite differently if short-term profitability is valued more than sustainable growth.
All values are not created equal and in prioritizing your values, you are consciously determining how you want to run your business.
Reassess – values change over time
People change, situations change, and values change.
As a self-admittedly pretty selfish guy before I had kids, I’m amazed at how quickly and easily I’ve had to adjust my value system once I realized that the needs of my family come first. Life experiences have the potential to influence and alter your value system and it’s important to periodically reflect on your values and how you prioritize them, and adjust accordingly.
When you know your values and what’s important to you, you’ll be happier with the decisions you make and people will always know where you stand.
Stay tuned for Wednesday's post - 3 steps to defining your own prioritized value system.
It was six years ago this month that I realized I had to do something.
I was sitting around a roaring campfire in Ontario's cottage country with a cold beer in hand and in good company. This was my first leadership retreat after becoming the General Manager of a large heavy equipment dealership and I was excited for this new adventure.
Or so I thought.
Outwardly excited but in fact, I was miserable. Not about the job, or the people or the experience. Miserable because that day was my son's first birthday and while I didn't realize it at the time, missing it would have a profound impact on my life and career.
The next day as I listened to my peers describe their challenges and frustrations in the pursuit of driving results for their business, I was struck by the similarity of topics that I had experienced throughout my career. Many of these frustrations were familiar to me first-hand, while others had been etched into my memory after interacting with thousands of entrepreneurs and managers around the world during the previous fifteen years of my career.
It seemed like everywhere I turned where someone was running a business, the frustrations and inefficiencies were the same and repeated themselves over and over.
Unsurprisingly, the answers to these problems were also similarly predictable:
Like me, you’ve probably tried all of these any approaches, and failed. I was already working as smartly as I could, trying to grow myself as a leader, and was quite frankly fed up reading books with one or two takeaways hidden amongst the wordy Southwest Airlines or Amazon examples.
The fact of the matter is, for any business to be successful and for the person running that business to have a life outside of work, the business needs to be well managed. Not micro-managed, not governed through key performance indicators, and not eulogized for inspirational leadership visions of grandeur. Well managed where the fundamentals of how the business is run are simple, consistent, and add value.
I missed my son's birthday because the fundamentals of how my business was run were broken. I was spending too much time on the routine parts of my job and needed help with HOW I ran my business. Because I couldn't find a resource or book that was specific and practical to help with this, I decided to write my own. Driving Great Results is the culmination of tools I developed or refined from my experience and that of countless others to help you run your business and get time back for the things which really matter.
Is it a comprehensive list? Definitely not. I've purposefully left out important topics such as customer focus, marketing and sales, and finance, but it's a start. That’s why in conjunction with my book (publishing January, 2021), I wanted to launch the Driving Great Results blog. To share other tools, tips, and resources you can quickly implement to help you run a great business.
My goal for the blog is simple: short posts, twice a week. Once with a three item hit list and once with my perspective on a management (or leadership) topic that I think you'll find interesting and of value. Input on topics and feedback are welcome, and I’d love for you to connect with me and comment on Facebook (@ljsheppar).
My son turned six this month, and I haven't missed a birthday since. Welcome to my blog and I hope I can help you to not miss the birthdays!
PS - if you like where I'm headed with this blog, please like, share, or subscribe!