AVOIDING DECISION FATIGUE

September 9, 2022

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Business leaders have earned their stripes. We’ve honed our business judgment through years of experience and wins.

But exercising good judgment day-to-day requires more. It requires mental sharpness and vitality. Coming to each decision, and moment, with openness and a fresh mind.

For me, and many others, personal habits help keep me on my game, including: exercise, rest, healthy food, and family time.

What’s much harder for many leaders is creating the right work environment for teams to thrive. Risk of bad judgment is higher when employees have to perform when they’re feeling fatigue, burnout, or other stresses.

The more decisions (and the more meaningful those decisions) somebody has to make, the greater the danger that decision fatigue might lead to an error.

The same principle applies to everybody on the team. To consistently find and close great deals, everybody has to perform at a high level. Alliance has given employees a lot of freedom and flexibility for years. We know that each team member is in the best position to know what they need, and happy and healthy employees will make better decisions for the company.

Many companies put tight restrictions on workers’ hours, overly engineered meeting cadence, breaks, vacations, and other work conditions, but in my experience, a lighter touch gets better results. The pandemic forced many companies to loosen their controls, and I think it will be hard to go back to the old way.

The great boxer Muhammad Ali once said different strokes for different folks. This applies in business as well as boxing. Different problems require different approaches. Different people have different optimal conditions for doing their best work. The best results come when we empower people to take care of themselves.

I’m not saying there are no constraints and everybody should be free to do whatever they want. Every job has its own key outputs, and those outputs are what really matter. Too many companies make the mistake of trying to optimize their inputs (like work schedules or office hours) rather than the outputs they really care about.

At Alliance, we have a portfolio, team, brand, and relationship network that we built for the long game. We would never have gotten where we are today without encouraging people to take care of themselves and giving them the freedom, and empowering them to drive things their own way.

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