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Stop Making Decisions Hard

Guest Blogger Chelsie Lee shares:

Regardless of your ‘job’ in today's world we are forced to make more decisions than ever before. Whether you’re considering a destination for a weekend trip or what to have for dinner, our society has made it possible to do, go or have just about anything and everything our hearts (and wallets!) desire.

With constant schedule changes... technology... personal and professional changes along the journey, it's difficult to feel confident everyday that you're working on the things that really drive the needle.

Stop. Breathe. Reflect to Evaluate Your Gaps.

I added meditation to my morning routine a few months ago and still find myself consistently having a big ‘ah ha!’ breakthrough moment at some point during some accidental mind wandering or immediately afterward. Every single time I find it incredible how much I can get out of a quick 10 minutes and wish I did it more. The other daily game changer I strive to tackle (always a practice, never a perfection) are repeating these words of wisdom from one of my first true mentors: ‘Take down the big dogs first and the rest will follow’.

Oftentimes I find that hitting the toughest or most annoying task first opens my mindspace for more product time. On the contrary, when I don’t tackle the big dog first, I find that specific item takes up more brain power thinking and stewing over it than it would actually take to get done. Just do it.

There are plenty of good self-reflection resources out there, but my favorite is Designing Your Life. Rather than spewing out tips and tricks of your marching orders or how to radically change your life, this takes a very different approach—Design Thinking. This exercise forces you to dive deep and reflect on your current day and all the things that go with it. The goal is to document what really makes you tick—what you enjoy doing, the things you despise about your day, etc. before giving you the go-forward guide. Before you can even understand what to tackle, take the first deep dive and reflect on what technique or new approach you would benefit from implementing within your daily routine. (Pro tip: Bite sizes pieces go a lot further than you’d anticipate.)

For example, Do you always show up (on time) and feel adequately prepared for all meetings, end on time and have clear action items? If no... block a half hour on your calendar the day before to prep and properly prepare items needed for the agenda. Or let’s say marketing isn’t a weapon you have in your toolbelt. Well, add that to the hiring plan. This also will serve as a framework for many of the parts and pieces that go within a business plan– two for one deal here. Chip away at your business plan while understanding your own gaps!

Don’t Fall into the Deep Well of Decision Paralysis

Throughout my career, I've made a habit of physically writing out my top three priorities for the day and asking myself (ideally the night before), “What would make tomorrow a success?” Per a friendly suggestion from a former colleague, I was asked about six months ago if I do my top 3 for my personal life. The answer, no. Since then, I've implemented a daily '3x3' where I literally write out the top 3 most important items both personally and professionally. Which has significantly reduced that angst to call an old friend you haven't spoken to in ages– stop putting pressure on yourself and just pick up the phone and call.

Whether electronic or physical, put your 3x3 front and center every single day. Force yourself as

you’re aimlessly reading emails if what you’re on the hunt for is applicable and will help you

accomplish your top priorities for that day.

As the saying goes…. Good news spreads. About six months ago I thought I’d see what this would look like across the team—each week every individual inputs their top three most impactful items they can accomplish that meets our monthly, quarterly and annual goals. By each contributor inputting their own items, each individual is held responsible and collectively this naturally aligns the team all rowing in the same direction. It also gives management a solid understanding of overall team workload, who is keeping on top of their targets and you’d be surprised by how easy you’ll see the gaps. This is also critical to understand other dependencies or your ‘internal customer’ on the team is and what impact your item has on the rest of the organization.

Validate Through Connecting

So, now you have the gaps and your top three priorities for the day, week, month, quarter and year. A great start and the foundation but do you really have all the answers? Regardless your beliefs on fact vs. fiction, you don’t have all the answers– ever. That’s why no continuous self improvement goes without validation from peers, customers, team and friends/family around you.

When was the last time you asked yourself or your team what you can do to help support them better? Regardless of how large or small the feedback is, you’ll find something that can help you work better together and more efficiently. For example, I just learned an individual on my team prefers solid calendar blocks or meetings scheduled on specific days/times. Well, that happens to be my same preference, but I didn’t know that previously and didn’t realize I was tossing a wrench during their deep think time.

Connect with your demographic, regardless of your experience or ‘industry expertise’ in that area and you’d be surprised what can come from it. I’m no baby expert, but I had an interesting conversation with a prospect recently and while I currently have no children and am not in the baby world at all, there is a massive opportunity within a very obvious space where when you need diapers, you REALLY need diapers. With customers, partners and prospects– trust and predictability are not optional. Without it, you’re asking for trouble and something you very likely will not be able to come back from. A stat published by salesforce says that ‘ 95% of customers say their trust in a company makes them more likely to remain loyal to that brand’ and that ‘70% consumers will switch when experience is disappointing, unpredictable or untrustworthy’.

Sometimes there are additional benefits, likely unanticipated when seeking this type of validation through friends and family. For example, as a CEO you’re always chugging your company kool-aid, getting the team excited about the next big customer launch and sharing the good news with

investors. And it’s not that frequently that we hear a ‘good job’. Sometimes it might take you by

surprise but always good to have a pat on the back.

Try bring it all together and review your week; gaps, decisions and validations through something like Analog by Ugmonk.

About the Author:

Chelsie Lee is the Co-founder and CEO of SHIPSI, the delivery technology platform that enables retailers to offer same-day and scheduled delivery without managing any of the logistics. She’s a retail, technology, and supply chain expert who has consulted 500+ top retailers and brands on business strategy, growth, and execution. Among her previous clients are Saks Fifth Avenue, New Look, UGG, O’Neill, Nike and more. In addition to being nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Chelsie is also a contributor to the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, a mentor to emerging brands, a surf enthusiast, and a yoga instructor. She currently resides in Venice, CA.


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