I used to work in a credit acquisition department where we were
making lending decisions for customers every day. The customer
would send in an application, and we had to make a credit decision
based on multiple factors like previous credit and financial history.
Every effort was made to build consistency, but there were always
situations when we would be on the fence due to the subjective nature
of the job. Do we approve it, decline it, or ask for more information
from the customer? The easy decision was to ask for more information,
but even then, some information that came back still left us in the fog.
Our job was to make sound decisions that didn’t put the bank at risk,
but we still had regulations and certain internal deadlines that forced
us to make some kind of determination. We called these final decisions
endlines. We had to endline and stop waffling. Right or wrong, we had
to make an educated and informed decision before the application was
considered past due.
In your professional life, it’s important to realize that procrastination
is not an option. There are decisions that have to be made. Effective
today, you will learn to make endline decisions. You obviously want
to gather important facts to make important decisions. However,
there are some decisions that aren’t important. Certain emails may
be sitting in your inbox that you’ve read twenty-five times in the hope
that something can be done to deal with it. Have you engaged the right
people, have you escalated the situation, have you gathered the right
facts? In the touch-it-once mentality, leaving it in your inbox doesn’t
solve the problem. A decision still needs to be made. Being decisive
and attacking problems head-on will always save you time and effort.
If you’re in the habit of leaving items unattended because you find it
difficult deciding what to do, now is the time to commit to changing
that habit. An unofficial rule of thumb for me is to consider a maximum
of five business days before simply making an endline decision—give or
take, based on the circumstances. Even if you choose to delete it with
no actions, you still have to make a decision. It’s been a week already!
As long as you understand the ramifications of your decisions, you will
start to build the right habits and reduce the volume of these endline
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood