A management lesson I relearn every day

Here’s something I learned years ago about management of a growing organization but seem to keep learning over and over again: It’s mainly about the number of reasonably high quality decisions you can make each day.

Why? Well, let’s take the sentence above apart.

  1. The “number“: If your organization is growing, it means that you are confronting new challenges / problems pretty much daily. You can and should push the decision-making to smart colleagues, but the hard questions are going to end up on your desk. As the day goes on, making decision after decision wears you out and you want to kick the can down the road… but that’s the wrong thing to do.
  2. Reasonably high quality“: You don’t need to get everything right all the time. Instead, you need to get most of the answers right and limit the severity of your mistakes, such that you can correct them.
  3. Each day“: You can’t build anything worthwhile in a short period of time. Instead, it’s going to be a slog, where you have to keep performing each and every day. I sometimes think about it like an old-time boxer in a relatively even fight… you could win that kind of fight by continuing to answer the bell, round after round after round, until your opponent quit. That’s the kind of determination and grit that’s required to do anything meaningful.

No matter how long I do this, I still have a kind of “grass is greener” feeling when I hear about someone else’s success in some other business that seems easier than mine. But the truth is that the above applies to every single successful business.

The grass isn’t greener. You will succeed. You just need to keep moving forward, step by step.