Making decisions in hindsight


I was working with a client who asked my advice on a new service offering, something to add to the portfolio of services they offer.

The question was “Do you think we should do this?”

I responded by asking a series of questions to gather further information, making sure I really understood the pros and cons of the situation.

My client was struggling to make this decision, but really that was the symptom. The cause was that the business did not have enough knowledge. Someone had a bright idea, and it seemed attractive.

They knew they could add this offering at a fairly low cost.

My client wanted to make the decision on that basis, but was not sure.

I wanted to know how the clients would value this new offering, whether the sales team thought it would help them win more deals and if there was an opportunity to leverage this new and different offering to create a market advantage – a USP.

If you look at any business decision – the ones that went right as well as the ones that went wrong – there is a key phase where you gather information about the potential rewards (those were the questions I was asking my client) and the potential risks (which my client had assessed)

I’ve found in my business career that all the poor decisions I’ve made can be traced to poor information; either I didn’t have the right info, or perhaps I had not asked the right questions. Once or twice I can say I asked the right questions but the answers were not as truthful as they might have been, but that is a tiny minority.

The reverse is true of the good decisions. Yes, sometimes I have been lucky, but more often than not it has been a case of asking the right questions, weighing the evidence and making a prompt decision.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing; we can all make the right decisions in hindsight but that’s because we have all the facts! Ask the right questions, then make a timely decision.


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