Fear can be a good thing if it keeps us from stepping too close to the edge of a cliff or motivates us to dodge out of the way of a speeding car. But in business, you shouldn’t let fear dictate the core of your decision-making process. Here are four ways to manage your fear, move through it and make the best possible calls for the future of your company.
1. Do a cost-benefit analysis.
It’s the oldest and easiest trick in the book. Make a list with two columns – one that includes everything you worry could go wrong in your organization, and the other with everything you hope will go right. Taking a step back and looking at this list will help you avoid surrendering to fear at the offset and make your decisions based on facts instead.
2. Find your Spock and McCoy.
Any classic Star Trek fan will remember that whenever Capt. James T. Kirk had to make a decision, he gathered his two most trusted advisors: Dr. McCoy and Spock. He could always count on McCoy to offer a “gut” perspective based on emotion and fear, whereas Mr. Spock consistently offered a measured, logical approach to any situation. Then the captain, better understanding the extremes of the situation, could make a level-headed decision. Find the members of your team who will help you see the full spectrum of any situation, listen to them and make decisions accordingly.
3. Trust, but verify.
When Ronald Reagan spoke about his decision-making process for the nuclear-arms policy and the United States’s relationship with the Soviet Union, he took a balanced approach. Though he said he would “trust” that the Soviets would abide by their agreement, he would “verify” that they were indeed holding up their end of the bargain.
To be a great leader, you need to have a certain level of faith that things are going right. However, you’ve also got to pay attention, verify that people are doing what you’ve asked them to do and make appropriate changes along the way to ensure that your trust is respected and warranted.
4. Butterflies are a good thing.
My daughter Madison is an actor, and she has the proverbial butterflies in her stomach before every performance. In many ways, it’s the fuel that drives her onstage. As a leader, don’t let the butterflies in your stomach stop you from moving forward with a decision or from considering a new idea. Instead, let that little bit of anxiety motivate and drive you toward success.
As the founder of Petra Coach, Andy Bailey can cut through organizational BS faster than a hot knife through butter, showing organizations the logjams thwarting their success and coaching them past the excuses we all use to avoid doing what needs to be done. Andy learned how to build great organizations by building a great business, which he started in college. It then grew into an Inc. 500 multimillion-dollar national company that he successfully sold and exited.