Decision Making

by Dallas Mount

2 doors

The leader of a business has an important role in making decisions. Every day we make dozens if not hundreds of decisions. Some minor and perhaps some major decisions. The success or failure of your business likely depends on a few important decisions you will make this year, next year and the year after. One challenge is that it isn’t always apparent what the important decisions are at the moment. Making a change to what has been done isn’t always the most consequential decision. Sometimes choosing to do the same thing is actually the most consequential decision even though it might not seem like it at the moment.

I’ve been reflecting on my own decision-making process and wanting to be more thoughtful about how I recognize and make the important decisions. One challenge I’ve recognized is the difficulty in realizing when what feels like a minor decision in the moment, can turn out to be a major decision.  

My tendency is to make decisions quickly. I’ve always looked up to leaders who empower others and don’t create roadblocks. Those who trust their people, and give them autonomy to do their work. In that framework I tend to go with whomever is standing in front of me at the time and just make the decision on the spot. Several times this has come back to bite me. Having not thought through the broader implications of my decision such as impacts on other parts of the business, setting a difficult precedent, creating complication in the business, or unknowingly cutting the legs out from under another person or an effort we have going on. I’ve been working on being more thoughtful, taking a bit more time to consider things and including others in the decision making process.

I recently listened to Jeff Bezos and the way he and Amazon think about decision making.

They distinguish between two-way door decisions and one-way door decisions. A two-way door decision is something you can easily back up from. Let’s try this and see if it works. A one-way door decision is one that once you go through it, it is much more difficult to go back. Those require a much deeper level of thought and deliberation.  

In ranching decisions often need to be made in the moment. However, many of the most impactful decisions allow for plenty of time for consideration. Do you think through the broader systemic implications of your decisions? Do you include others? How do you encourage dialogue and healthy disagreement to come to the best decision?  

Leadership is about making decisions but it is also about empowering others to make decisions. Here’s hoping you have ample time to work on your business and plenty of time to work out in green pastures this spring.

3 Responses to “Decision Making”

June 12, 2024 at 6:58 am, India Mount said:

Excellent and appropriate for us. Thanks


June 12, 2024 at 9:58 am, GJ said:

The “majors” are found in the “minors”…

Ecclesiastes 9:17 The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the cry of him who rules among fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war; but one sinner destroys much good.

You can build a great ranch but if the foundation implodes that supports it, all the work is in vain.


June 13, 2024 at 12:20 pm, Burke said:

What decisions are made in your WOTB meetings and what decision in the WITB meetings? A lot of the WOTB decisions are pretty important and usually take time and quality thought. Bezos was great


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