There is a big underlying problem with Icelandic business people that no-one seems to be discussing.
It needs to be discussed.
It needs to be discussed because this is causing all our businesses to lose a lot of money and time.
But before I tell you what the problem is, let me tell you about the solution..
Be better at decisions. Seth Godin shows you how..
Seth Godin wrote a fantastic blog post yesterday on the subject of decision hygiene.
It was such a great article that I asked him if I could quote the whole thing. Luckily for me, he said yes.
How to improve the speed of your business:
(from Seth’s blog post called “How to go faster”)
How do you get to market faster than the competition? How do you become more efficient without violating the laws of physics? How do you save time, money and frustration?
It all comes down to decision hygiene:
1. Make decisions faster. You rarely need more time. Mostly, you must merely choose to decide. The simple test: is more time needed to gather useful data, or is more time merely a way to postpone the decision?
2. Make decisions in the right order. Do the decisions with the most expensive and time-consuming dependencies first. Don’t ask the boss to approve the photos once you’re in galleys, and don’t start driving until you’ve looked at the map.
3. Only make decisions once, unless new data gives you a profitable reason to change your mind.
4. Don’t ask everyone to help you decide. Ask the people who will either improve the decision or who have input that will make it more likely you won’t get vetoed later.
5. Triage decisions. Some decisions don’t matter. Some decisions are so unimportant that they are trumped by speed. And a few decisions are worth focusing on.
You don’t need a consultant or a lot of money to radically improve your speed to market. You will speed up once you’re comfortable going faster.
I believe Seth really hit the nail on the head with “is more time merely a way to postpone the decision?” ..
So, what’s the problem?
Or rather, the lack of reaching a decision quickly and then replying to messages or answering phone calls.
This appears to be a common business practice in Iceland
The reason this is a problem is because:
- My time is wasted because I’m waiting for a reply from you
- Your time is wasted because you can’t reach a decision
- If indecision is your standard response to everything, your products will be slow to go to market, slow enough for your competitors to overtake you and kill your business.
The third one is a big one .. if you have a hard time making up your mind or bring in the people who can make the decision, it’s going to allow your competitors to overtake you.
Also, if you waste people’s time with indecision, you’re going to ruin your reputation with that person and his network.
Here are a couple of tips that might help your decision process
When someone sends you an e-mail, you could just write back “No” and be done with it – saving everyone time and headaches.
If you’re interested in learning more and start a dialog, remember to say “No” if you aren’t interested anymore.
If you’re interested, say “Yes” immediately.
When you say “No”, people will respect you for making the decision.
Why it’s a good thing to make decisions fast
When you’re communicating with an outside party and suddenly stop replying (due to lack of decision making), it will cause an irreparable damage to your reputation.
Or as Warren Buffett says..
So how do I make decisions faster?
Well, start by re-reading Seth’s post above.
I decided to take this to heart and write a sticky note that will sit in front of me all day long.
There are two statements on it:
- Make decisions faster!
- When in doubt, say “NO”.
Sometimes we need help remembering things, and in my case, sticky notes are perfect for that.
Want help? Here’s what I want you to do:
- Find a sticky note
- Write the words “Make Decisions Faster!” on it
- Write the words “When in doubt, say NO” on it
- Stick it somewhere you’ll see it every day (ex.: your bathroom mirror)
Every day from now on, let the sticky note remind you about the decision you need to make.
Every time you need to make a decision, remember those tips.
Good luck 🙂
…and I would like to add to this: Don’t be afraid to say no. Icelandic people seem to be incapable of saying no to your face. When making a sale to Icelanders, they are all so amazingly positive and by any other standards, you are sure you have sold them your product. Try to get back to them the next day and they will either completely avoid you, (rare, but it has happened), or not bother to follow up at all – which you are supposed to know means ‘no’. – All because they just cannot tell you ‘no, sorry, not interested’ to your face during your first meeting.