Start-up essentials – Fearless decision making

This article is reproduced from Sameer’s Blog, my personal blog. It was originally written on 02-December-2007.  Original post with all comments can be found here:Start-up Essentials – Fearless decision making

Assuming that the team and the idea both have the potential to be successful, the single most important factor that determines the success or failure of a start-up venture is “Performance in the race against time”. A well funded start-up has high expectations (and pressure) from the Investors to move fast and meet the planned targets quarter after quarter. Where as, in case of a start-up looking for funds, a lot has to be accomplished in a short time to make the venture fundable in the first place.

Decisions are the “basic units”of functioning for every organization that is working to accomplish a set of goals. untitled.jpg

– Step 1: Make decision
– Step 2: Act on the decision

The organization’s speed of moving is directly proportional to the time that is taken to complete the above two steps for every work unit (small or big, top level or bottom level). Start-ups which lack “Fearless decision making” tend to do of the following:

– Take a lot of time in “making critical decisions” even on critical business items
– Make a lot of weak decisions – a decision is made but the next step “Acting on the decision” is really slow

This type of “Fearful decision making” culture slowly but surely paralyzes the start-up, drains the resources and de-motivates employees who are keen to increase the pace, overcome the challenges and get things done. No start-up has the time to indulge in this type of behavior.

A fearless decision is not a decision taken in hurry or just a brave decision. A fearless decision is a business decision with the right intention, a bold decision, which may make some people unhappy in the short-term but eventually will turn out to be good for the business.

The culture of “Fearless decision making” goes a long way towards helping a start-up achieve its goal of changing the world. Every start-up tries to conquer the market with a new product, a new service or a new process. Which means a start-up should always be ready to work with a lot on unknowns and make decisions in that light. The key is to embrace “fearless decision making”, with the right amount of risk proofing and planning. This allows the start-up to continue to convert unknowns into known at the required swift pace.

  • Make a decision with a well defined hypothesis
  • Finalize a execution plan which will also test the hypothesis and define some of unknown variables
  • Execute.
  • Measure the results and analyze them
  • There is a good chance you can convert a set of unknowns to known, which signal significant progress for a startup
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One Response to “Start-up essentials – Fearless decision making”

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