Do Your Emotions Impact Your Business Decisions?

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On March 13, 2020

how to make better business decisions from business coachBusiness Decisions:  The Balance Between Facts and Feelings

I have yet to meet a successful business leader (Owner/CEO/President) who wasn’t passionate about their business. We may demonstrate our passions in different ways, but it’s an essential element for scaling up a business and taking it to new heights. Passion alone, however, won’t take you where you want to go. The challenge is finding a way to channel your passion for good business decisions.  You need to be able to harness that passion in such a way that you can execute your strategies and fulfill your vision. Part of that means understanding how your emotions impact your decisions.

How Do You Make Business Decisions?

Most of us think of ourselves as rational business people. That means that we gather the facts, review them, and make the most logical choices. Too often, however, something happens between our hearts and our brains. You can read all kinds of histories of business people who make decisions based on emotion—and then try to justify their decisions with rationale after the fact. This is a tough situation because if someone challenges your decision, you’ve got “facts” that prove your point. The problem is, those “facts” may be selectively chosen to support your decision—while other data (that contradicts your decision) is ignored.

Blind Assumptions in Decision Making

Sometimes, decisions are based on blind assumptions that have no basis in facts. Here’s an example a colleague shared with me that illustrates this point. Years ago, a local print shop wanted to scale up and expand their business. They visited several local businesses who had printing needs—including my colleague who worked for a mid-sized publishing company. The printer asked all of the companies he visited how much they spent on printing each year. He then tallied up the figures and made an assumption. His thinking was that if he could win just 10 percent of the printing contracts from the businesses he’d polled, he would have no problem paying off the $2 million printing press he had his heart set on. In his mind, capturing 10 percent of a company’s business was reasonable.

The problem was that his “reasonable” assumption wasn’t reasonable at all. The printing press he had his heart set on didn’t match the needs of the companies he’d queried. The press would significantly expand the printer’s capacity—but it wouldn’t do so in the areas that his potential clients need.

Unfortunately, when the printer went to the bank to borrow the money, they bought his line of reasoning—and they gave him a loan. When the printer went back to his prospective clients (none of whom had committed to doing business with him), he discovered that he simply wasn’t competitive. His new press was too big for the smaller jobs these companies needed and too small for the big jobs that others (such as the publishing company) needed. Within a year, the printer defaulted on his loan and his company went out of business.

Impartial Input For Decision Making

The tricky thing about emotions and business decisions is that it can be hard to recognize when they conflict. You may not think you’re being emotional. That’s why it’s important to get impartial input from someone you can trust. If you have a trusted friend or colleague (particularly one who is in a different industry), you may want to run plans and ideas by them. They are less likely to be emotionally involved in the decision. That may enable them to ask key questions that can help you make the right decisions.

Soliciting the help of an executive coach is another good approach. A great coach will be passionate about helping you achieve your goals, but he or she won’t be subject to the same emotional influences that could influence you. Plus, a great coach will look at your decisions in the broader context of your overall vision and strategy. I engage clients face-to-face (locally) and remotely—whichever way works best for them. I’d love to chat with you to see if we might be a good fit for one another!

Business Decisions help in ebookLearning to balance your feelings with the facts is just one of the challenges you’ll face as you look to scale up your business. There are plenty of other “growth traps” you’ll face in this endeavor. I invite you to download our free How to Avoid the Growth Traps eBook so that you can guard yourself against some of the most common missteps and mistakes that scaling companies face.