The importance of confronting difficult decisions

Confrontation is difficult for many business owners and managers. Most businesspeople prefer to have friendly relationships with colleagues – including those who report to them. When everyone gets along, it makes the day-in, day-out routine pleasant and is typically good for productivity.

However, in the life of a business, there are going to be hiccups. A manager’s direct reports will sometimes behave poorly, fail to execute, or come up short in some way. The businesses that successfully navigate these bumps in the road are the ones that continue to thrive. Organizations that fail to confront difficult decisions often allow situations to fester and metastasize into bigger problems; sometimes, these issues can be large enough to drag down the business.

From the outside, it can seem obvious when an executive needs to confront a situation, whether the challenge is flagging sales, personnel issues, or market disruptions. However, it is not always easy to see when you are in the middle of it. Even when it is, many managers will shy away from the confrontation. They will avoid the tough decision. It may seem to be the easiest path to follow, but it often leads to more and more difficulty.

Great businesspeople know this. They know they must confront these difficult circumstances. That does not mean they do not struggle with it. As Ben Horowitz writes in his best-selling business book The Hard Thing About Hard Things,

“Hard things are hard because there are no easy answers or recipes. They are hard because your emotions are at odds with your logic. They are hard because you don’t know the answer and you cannot ask for help without showing weakness.”

Everyone in a position of responsibility faces the same situations. The best of them act.

Employees, vendors, and customers may not want to hear bad news, but they typically appreciate an executive who has the courage to stand up and acknowledge that something is awry. Often, they are thankful that the elephant in the room has been acknowledged and it enables everyone to move forward.

In the end, confronting difficult decisions earns the respect of those you interact with. It allows the company to move forward with authority.

Put simply, it is smart business.

Contact us at 215.441.4600 if you have questions or would like to discuss how this topic may impact your business.

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