6. Separate the facts from the interpretation of the facts.

There are very few facts that aren’t also coupled with someone’s (even your) interpretation of the facts. Either sales are down 20% or they are not. An explanation is just that. There are great explanations, few of which are worth banking your business on. If sales are down, assume they’ll stay down until you do something about it.

7. Always include a worst-case scenario — and make it a really bad scenario.

Living in denial is always expensive — yet we all do it. A good way to get out of denial is to assume that sales will drop 50% in the next year and “be ready” for that possibility. Just by including that option and developing options at that level, you will make a better decision about what is more likely to happen.

8. Always look at the downside of every decision you make.

Make a list of the ten potentially negative and even deadly consequences of even a no-brainer or excellent change to your business. Everything affects everything today — and unexpectedly. If you respect this ecological truth you’ll realize that every decision affects, in some way, you, your employees, your shareholders, your profitability and your viability.

9. Seek to enhance your reputation first; bottom line second.

Today your business will grow more based on your reputation than on any other single item. When you focus on that the money will follow — and you’ll be more proud of your company, too.

10. Hang out with others who have excellent judgment.

There are so many subtleties about acquiring and developing good judgment that most of the process comes best from friends, colleagues, competitors and staff who already have great judgment. Learn from them, in every conversation.


Copyright 1997 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.