[SSB#15] Fact-based decision making - avoid expensive mistakes.
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Welcome to the 15th edition of my newsletter "Supersonic Business", a fortnightly publication by me, Laura Landmark, with a focus on business growth, value and performance management, in other words, all things that make a business better.
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Sandnes, Norway, Saturday morning, 28th March 2020 🌄
"Supersonic Business" is sent from me, a Management Accountant, to those that have a leading position in SME's (small/medium businesses). The vision for the newsletter is to share information, tips and tricks to build healthy, thriving businesses from the 'inside out', it is written from the finance and administration perspective.
I hope you enjoy [SSB#15], write to me on email@example.com if you have any feedback or questions.
Last week I almost made a horrible mistake, I nearly slipped right up on my own banana! Quite simply I was on the brink of making a REALLY bad decision which would have cost, or at least damaged, a relationship, plus would have been a total embarrassment.
Thankfully, I left myself some breathing room before I reacted, and everything sorted itself out before I said, or did anything drastic.
It brought it home to me, how in life and in business we are potentially making very costly and downright bad decisions when facts are lacking or misleading, as was the case here.
To explain, for 24 hours my world was rocked. I heard that someone had said something about me that seemed not only unkind and unjustified, but absolutely wrong. The message came through the grapevine and hit me like a blow to the chest.
I didn't react very much when I was told by the messenger, I just said something like "wow, that sounds mean"!, and then moved on. But inside I was knocked sideways, pondering, wondering, fuming, evaluating, dismissing and then fuming again!
I don't remember feeling like that since I was a teenager (then I felt like that a lot, like most teenage girls do!). It was actually a good reminder to me about how my own girls might be feeling as they grow up in the world of social media and cheap shots. No matter what your mother says, it is not easy to dismiss it from your head when someone says something cutting. (Note to self, remember to listen and understand, don't try to fix!)
Anyway, I gave myself some internal straight talk, I told myself that I cannot control what others say or do, but I can control my reaction to it. I told myself that 'the thing' that was said wasn't true, it was just someone else's opinion, and I reminded myself that I am old enough and self-confident enough to move beyond this. I, at least, am no longer a vulnerable teen.
Before moving on though, I spent some time trying to rationalize it, thinking if, or how, I should address this with the accuser. It went really deep, I spent a whole day and night wondering and still wasn't sure how to approach it. I like things out in the open, so one thing was for sure, I needed to say something to get the situation cleared up, I just needed to find the right words.
Thank goodness I kept schtum, or I would have looked like a maniac! As it turns out, 'the thing' that was said, was not about me at all!! The messenger came back to me the next day and nonchalantly said 'the thing' they said yesterday was about someone else. And actually, when you put the statement in context it made total sense, and was not mean at all!
Again, I didn't react much to what the messager told me, as they hadn't realized how much it had affected me anyway. I just smiled and again, moved on.
Inside though I was jumping for joy, not only that my own self-image and self-esteem were completely restored, but mostly that I had avoided making a costly decision based on completely faulty information.
In business, there are decisions being made every month, week, day, or potentially every hour and minute without a good base of facts or reason. Decisions and choices that are potentially damaging, socially or economically.
I heard someone say during this week, that they are having to make decisions to buy or sell expensive materials based on a plan that they are not confident in. This creates an icky feeling for them, knowing they could be in the firing line for making a really costly mistake with a lot of knock-on repercussions, based on bad quality information, despite the fact that they have the best intentions.
A lot of these business decision-making issues in business lie around the difficulty in accessing and interpreting the numbers, the performance and the direction the company is headed. This is an issue we help business leaders solve every day. Our company was named Mantle as our philosophy is that all the facts are in there somewhere, inside the companies databases, inside the human and intellectual capital of the company, ie deep down in the Mantle. It's just a case of accessing it and enabling it quickly enough to react to the ever-changing conditions.
We want to free up more time in every company for good analysis and sound decision making. In these Corona days, it is clear to see that businesses need to be able to react with lightning speed, and scenario planning gives a golden opportunity to look at several different "what if's" on 'paper' before committing to a decision. None of us know how this is going to turn out, and therefore being able to make an A, B and C plan right now is almost essential for most businesses.
For that, you need the right tools, you need software, or even better, you need a great accountant with the right tools. The accountants are the medics of the business world, and we need them now more than ever to help guide us through this unprecedented situation.
We at Mantle will do our best to offer them the right tools so that they can free up their time from the desk to go out and stand beside you to fight for the survival of your business. Since most businesses (not all) are negatively impacted by the current situation, I encourage everyone to spend a few hours with their accountant figuring out a strategy for "Corona Times".
I would just like to end today's newsletter with a wish, hope and a prayer for our world, and everyone that is suffering at the expense of this dreadful Covid-19 disease, either directly or indirectly as a result of the repercussions on their business, family, life, and wellbeing.
We are drawn together as a planet in experiencing something quite unique, it is like being part of a massive social experiment and who knows where it is going to take us. As one of my dear friends said, Mother Nature has sent us all inside to have a think about what we have done, what we are doing and what we will do. I hope we use this time wisely.
One thing is for sure, things have changed, but let's see what we can learn, salvage create and grow out from this.
There is opportunity, even in the darkest hours.
Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn if you would like to know more about how we use technology to make life in business easier and the way forward clearer.
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How Actionable Analytics Is Improving Decision-Making And Efficiency
This article shows how most people recognize they could make MUCH better decisions if they had facts easily to hand. However, the same companies that state they would welcome access to better analytics also recognize that in most cases, they are not doing this very well.
The problem historically has always been knowing where to start, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the possibilities, and user-friendly software has been hard to come by. Not anymore though, the software has evolved dramatically over the past few years, and it is now very cheap and very easy to get up and running with some basic analytics.
Of course, you can mature these systems over time, and add in planning and budgeting so that you can start interacting with the data, but the important thing is just to get started.
... and if Forbes says it, I don't think there is much point in arguing against it!
Read the full article here
Four Pillars of Successful Corporate Decision-Making
Decision making is easy, but making smart decisions is an art and a science. This article gives a great framework on how to enhance the chances of making great decisions. It includes one of my favorites, diversity, and combines this with innovation, boldness and nuance.
The author of this article, David Mellor who is CEO of accounting and advisory firm Crowe Global, ran a study on successful companies with these frameworks in mind and found a strong correlation between diversity, growth and boldness with innovation.
In summary, you can take a theoretical approach to good decision making, and good decision making is not based on luck or chance.
Read the full article here
10 strategies successful people use to make decisions
There are great tips in this article about good decision making, including sleeping on it (thank goodness I did that - ref today's opening story), and also making big decisions in the morning. It makes sense when you think about it, a fresh mind is much more likely to produce a good decision.
read the full article here
Are we in control of our decisions?
A wonderful and funny insight by Dan Ariely into behavioral economics, and how predictably irrational we all are, no matter how many facts we have to hand!
Did you know?
Bill Gates explains the maths, and why shut down is important for slowing the exponential growth of Corona. Let's do what we need to do to get this under control. Stay home and keep our bacteria to ourselves!
Words of wisdom
Books on the bedside table this week.
This is a really good wake up call about the world we created for ourselves full of diversions and 'happiness' vs freedom and character.
It is quite controversial and will not resonate with everyone, but I think it is really worth a read as it gets you focusing on the things that we should be caring about and thinking differently.
Top Tip -
Make good use of the opportunity in Corona times.
In a chat with Rita last Saturday we talked of the opportunities growing out from being stuck at home. No one asked for this situation, but it is a really great chance to do something productive, either for yourself or for others. There is more time to connect, electronically, at least, and there is more time to create.
I love going out into the world and meeting people. Getting together with my customers, family, friends, and network are one of my biggest joys, but strangely, not being able to buzz around in the car, or on a plane seeing them all in person means I am actually had more time to connect with more of them, and also more time for other things like my short term cash flow forecasting model that I have been wanting to build for years.
So top tip this week is find something to do with this Corona time that you can look back on with fondness and pride when the time is over.
"The key is in not spending time, but in investing it." -- Stephen R. Covey
Always end with a thanks!
🙏Thanks to all the wonderful medical professionals the globe over, and their support systems for holding our world together and thanks to Rita for facilitating a bunch of wonderful chats with some very inspirational people.
Something to watch
Here is Rita and I having a coffee morning chat about what we are up to in Corona times, I get very excited about my short term cash flow forecasting model!
Thanks for reading & see you next time
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