How to stay objective

When it comes to making a business decision, how do you stay clear-headed and avoid lapsing into subjectivity? Six ways to keep clear-headed.

  1. Know what "great" looks like from the outset: be clear about what a successful outcome involves and why. Rely on data, not just your gut, and keep referring back to the facts of the situation, rather than reinterpreting them retrospectively.
  2. Don't expect the solution to be obvious: life is rarely characterised by contrasts that are black and white, or good and bad. Most situations are grey, ongoing and complicated, so stop being a purist and start being pragmatic.
  3. Disagreement is not a personal attack on you: try to separate the specific decision you're making from your broader relationship with work. This is about business, not about you.
  4. See the positive in the negative: when something goes wrong or a decision doesn't go the way you hoped, look for the opportunities that arise from it. There is always something new to learn from a situation.
  5. Look at things from others' standpoints: the context of a problem is generally broader than you as an individual can appreciate. When you delve deeper and find out more, you may change your perspective or realise that you were heading in the wrong direction. Equally, you may not, but at least you'll have learnt something further.
  6. Set yourself a time to walk away: are you just banging your head against a brick wall with no chance of a way through? Then move on, learn what you can and focus on the future. Looking back at a problem will only drain you of energy and won't change the reality of the situation.

back to archive