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Bo Knows Business

November 17, 2009

Bo knows baseball. Bo knows football. But does Bo knows business?

You bet he does. Bo the baseball player, Bo the football player, and now, Bo the business consultant.

“Just do it.” That’s the advice that Bo gives us in his well known ads for the Nike shoe company. It’s profitable advice for most managers.

It is rare to find a business that could not immediately improve performance by “just doing” what they know needs to be done. “Just do it”. There are too many things that we know we should be doing that we don’t get done. Implementation is the key.

Making good decisions is difficult enough. Not implementing the good ones is a manager’s greatest mistake. Decisions regarding the big issues usually attract enough attention that they get acted on, but the little ones often get neglected. Taking the initiative to do a lot of the little things that we know need to be done, however, can produce big results.

Read that report. Hire that employee. Call that customer. Check that inventory. Change that form. Clean out that office.

You know the things you need to do, you just haven’t done them. By failing to act, “we leave too much money on the table” and “too many things hanging over our heads.” Neither of which is a healthy situation.

Why the inaction? Laziness and complacency to some extent. Don’t deny it. Even the most energetic, hard charging managers are lazy about some things. But more importantly it is often a lack of confidence in the decision making process and a lack of discipline to implement those decisions once they have been made.

“Am I doing the right thing?” can be a paralyzing question.

Problem solving is the work of a manager. To view the manager as one who merely makes decisions is an error. We all make decisions. Only when decisions are made as a result of adherence to a logical problem solving process and have been effectively implemented has the manager met his or her responsibility.

It is not sufficient to say, “I know what needs to be done, but I just haven’t been able to do it.” “Just do it” and be done with it. You’ll feel better and be more productive.

If you follow an orderly process for arriving at a decision, you have a greater chance of having the discipline and initiative to implement it.

When making decisions, follow four simple steps. First, gather all the facts needed to understand the situation. Then take the time to objectively review the information. Next, formulate possible strategies and examine the consequences of each. Finally, choose the best alternative and implement it.

Note that you choose the best alternative, not the perfect one. It would be nice if there were perfect solutions for most problems, but there aren’t. Waiting for the perfect solution to a problem is little more than an excuse for indecision.

There are times when even the best of managers are gripped with indecision. In those instances, here is a good guideline to follow. “When you’re not sure that something needs to be done, you’re better off doing nothing at all. If, however, you know something needs to be done, you’re better off doing something than nothing at all.”

Your business will succeed or fail tomorrow depending on the quality of the decisions that you make today. While the quality of the thought that precedes the decision is important, implementation is ultimately the key.

Indecision is the graveyard of good intentions. When you know it has to be done, “just do it.” Bo knows!

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