As CEO of a startup, it is your job to make tough decisions and if you aren’t making them you aren’t doing your job.
Tough decisions are decisions where you don’t have enough data to be fully informed but you need to make one anyway. Tough decisions are where you decide to fire a staff member who is trying their best but isn’t up to the job. It’s going back to a long term customer and telling them that they aren’t going to be your customer anymore because you have decided to pivot the business. It’s telling your co-founder they aren’t performing.
Easy decisions are obvious and by their very definition anyone competent would make the same decision. It’s the difficult decisions that define you and your business. If you aren’t making these sorts of decisions then the company could have any CEO – you are letting circumstances control your business. It is through difficult decisions that you shape the future of your company.
We all face difficult decisions every week. How we address these decisions decides the fate of the business. Never let difficult decisions slide, they rarely become easier. Bear in mind that consciously deciding not to make a decision until you have better data is a decision and can often be the best course of action. However, do not use this an excuse not to make the tough decision when you need to. You do not have the luxury of time and resources that these unnecessary delays will require.
At the end of each week ask yourself what difficult decisions you made. If those painful decision aren’t front and center in your mind then you’re probably not addressing the real problems in your business. We all want to ‘kick the can down the road’ but we all know that is a losing strategy. Be a winner, be brave, make the tough decisions.