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Chris LoCurto

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January 10, 2012

Jim Collins On Making Decisions Part 2

January 10, 2012 | By | 28 Comments">28 Comments

Today’s post is The Producer’s Point of View from our EntreLeadership Podcast producer Chris Mefford on part two of my interview with Jim Collins.

His newest book is entitled Great by Choice, and that’s pretty much what we think of best-selling author Jim Collins. Jim has spent his career learning how and why good companies turn into great ones, and he’s shared that knowledge with the world. He’s a rock star, and we were thrilled when he agreed to be a guest on the EntreLeadership podcast.

In our interview with Jim, we focused on decision-making. After the interview was complete, Chris and I made a decision of our own. Chris’ discussion with Jim contained so much great information on business and leadership, we didn’t want you to miss a single bit of it. So we decided to break it in to two parts.

Last week, I shared my notes on part one. Today, I’ve included a synopsis on the rest of the interview. Here’s part two.

Jim said that the “great” executives don’t want to be surrounded by “yes men.” Instead, they encourage debate and disagreement when trying to make a major decision. Once the decision was made, it was followed by:

  • A unified commitment by the team behind the decision.
  • Brilliant execution of that decision leading to a big click on the flywheel.

Jim’s Advice: It’s your responsibility to disagree. But once that decision is made, it’s your responsibility to either back it up and make it   successful or leave.

Besides encouraging debate, the executives interviewed had a high questions-to-statement ratio. What’s that? Jim said it’s how many questions you ask to how many declarative statements you issue.

Jim’s Advice: If you never ask questions, you are probably not going to make as good of a decision. Count your questions-to-statement ratio and see if you can double it in a year.

Great leaders don’t always have all the answers. If you look at how they figure things out, most had to muddle along.

Jim’s Advice: Take someone like Bill Gates. It took him a while to grasp the importance of the internet. If it took him a while, what makes any of us think we are smarter than Bill Gates?

In today’s world, it seems there is never enough time and everyone constantly feeling rushed. How can you make decisions when everything is so crazy?

Jim’s advice: Schedule “pockets of quietude,” on your calendar just like you would any other activity or meeting. You need  time to think and reflect, so look at the big picture, then decide what to do.

 Question: What’s the hardest decision you’ve ever made and why?

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  • http://www.medicalaccountsolutions.com Misty Gilbert

    The hardest decision I ever had to make was at 20 yrs of age when I realized I had to become firm in my decision to help me. In order to achieve that, that mean that leaving the home of my parents, against their advice, without their consent, with no approval, with no welcome back ever (yes that is the case unfortunately, even 15 years later), without any further communication, completely on my own…was a tough one. However the offset was to make a life of peace, love and harmony…I don’t regret it. Except, I only wish I had done it sooner!

    Why was it the hardest? Because your parents are you roll models. They are the 1st ones you want support from. To face the fact that the abuse is not normal, the lack of love is not Gods will, the hypocrisy will only continue as it has and you are the one who has to walk away, the fact that nothing was ever good enough, is tough to face at any age. It has only made me who I am today and I hope it continues to work growth in my life with the guidance of the Only One who can work all things for His good!

    I have always been told I ask too may questions…interesting points. Enjoyed the recap!

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Wow Misty! I didn’t know that. Good for you!!

  • Chriscwalton

    This podcast on making decisions has helped me to be more brave in making decisions. I listened to both part 1 and part 2 twice.

    It was very motivational. Thanks for all you do!

  • http://www.ginasmom.com ginasmom

    I can think of a couple situatins, but this one stands out.
    When i first moved to this country, a few people took me under their wing. I promised to help them out, if they were ever in trouble and i meant it, still do. Fast foward a few years, one of them approached me to cosign on a personal loan for them. For a couple reasons (Which i understood), he wasn’t able to get the loan on his own, and deep down i knew he could repay it. If i had the money, i would have been happy to give it to him or do what we call a soft loan, but i could not bring myself to cosign the loan for him at the bank. It broke my heart to have to say no, but i still felt it was the right decision.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Absolutely!!! You knew I would say that. :-)

  • Anonymous

    We made a very difficult personal decision before our daughter was born. The doctors wanted to perform unnecessary interventions and we did not feel safe or comfortable with what they had planned to do. Right then we looked for a second opinion and we switched doctors and hospital a week before the due date. We had to gather a lot of information, do extensive research and ask many many questions. As a result, we had a safe delivery and a healthy baby. With what we know now, if we had gone the other route, we would have had a major medical emergency.

    Transfer that to leadership, decisions sometimes are a matter of life or death. If you asked the right questions (and lots of them), gathered all the information you possibly could and still are not convinced that it is the best course of action, it’s time to walk away.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Way to go you guys!!!!!

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    The advice on “quietude” was head on. I have missed out on this during several occasions. But, Jim has offered a fantastic advice on the question of non availability of time in our life. Can’t wait to read his new book.

  • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

    I LOVE being around leaders who don’t want to be surrounded by “yes men”! It helps me grow :)

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      No doubt! How can you trust a yes man? And how can you grow you with a yes man? You can’t.

      • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

        I’m ALL about growing!! It makes me happy :)

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric

    I like the idea of scheduling pockets of quietude in our lives. Just yesterday I was thinking this but did not articulate it quite as well. I think we could accomplish more if we took the time for this in our lives.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      As opposed to running like crazy like we do now? ;-)

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric

    I like the idea of scheduling pockets of quietude in our lives. Just yesterday I was thinking this but did not articulate it quite as well. I think we could accomplish more if we took the time for this in our lives.

  • http://jonstolpe.wordpress.com Jon Stolpe

    My wife and I had to make an extremely difficult decision a year and a half ago when we canceled our trip to Kenya. We were so excited to go serve with a group of people from our church in the slums of Nairobi. We had our passports, our shots, and our plane tickets. We paid quite a bit of money that was not refundable, and many people had donated to make this trip possible.

    A significant health issue made it apparent that this trip was not a good idea. Canceling this trip meant we were unable to return money that people had given us for the trip. It meant humbly confronting friends and family with the news of our change in plans.

    As it turns out, this was the smartest decision we could make. The health issues eventually turned into a hospitalization and significant recovery period. Had these issues unfolded in Kenya, we would not have had access to the same level of health care and support that home offered.

    We made the right call.

    I really appreciated this podcast. I especially appreciated the interview and Dave’s squirrel analogy.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Hahaha…I always think of that analogy as if it came from Mr. Miyagi. :-)

    • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

      Wow. That’s a great story to share. Glad you made the right call.

      • http://jonstolpe.wordpress.com Jon Stolpe

        Thanks, Joel. And I’m glad we made the right call also.

    • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

      Sometimes it takes guts to make a decision like that when so much money is irreversibly invested–Good job!

      • http://jonstolpe.wordpress.com Jon Stolpe

        Thanks, Laura. Honestly, I still struggle with this aspect of the whole thing. My pride gets me in trouble.

        • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

          I know what you mean! A couple years ago my husband and I were renting a house, and a friend of ours who looked at our furnace for fun (another story :) He’s a furnace guy) had to shut it down because of carbon monoxide poisoning. It was in the dead of winter (midwest) and our landlady waited almost a month to send a check to get it repaired. A couple in our church wrote a check from their savings so we would have heat, and we would pay them back when we got the landlady’s check. I was determined that we couldn’t take other people’s money and could take care of ourselves…. We probably would’ve froze if my husband didn’t have the humbleness to accept that check. And we did get them paid back :) Let’s say I learned a valuable lesson about letting others be used by God!

          • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

            I so struggle there. Have my whole life.

    • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

      Sometimes it takes guts to make a decision like that when so much money is irreversibly invested–Good job!

    • http://www.ginasmom.com ginasmom

      Jon, i grew up in Kenya, and i know exactly what you mean, about having to cancel the trip. Now that i live here, i have two different perspectives. I hope you can still make the trip someday! It will be worth it.

  • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

    Look forward to learning more! Unifying behind a decision is something I’ve seen NOT happen so many times. So damaging.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      True dat!

    • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

      Not much gets accomplished….if anything worthwhile….when there’s division!

    • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

      Not much gets accomplished….if anything worthwhile….when there’s division!