Successful People are Quick to Decide, Slow to Change

decision-dice Successful business people are quick to make up their mind, and slow to change it.  They stick to their decisions and follow through. Unsuccessful business people sit on decisions indefinitely and ultimately miss out on amazing opportunities because they didn’t take action. Now I know why – successful people have a proven system for making decisions.

I wasn’t planning to spend this past weekend re-taking a test I took last month.  Full disclosure, I honestly didn’t think the training company would read the essay test answers!  I figured it was just a ploy to make sure the class participants read the course material.  I already scored 87% on the computer exam, so I wrote just enough essay content to meet the minimum word requirements for every question – and no more.  Imagine my shock when the evaluator requested that I resubmit answers for 30% of the questions!  Was he serious?  Here’s what happened so you can learn from my experience so it doesn’t happen to you.

After spending 4 full days at an NLP workshop in July, it just made sense to get certified since I already completed the classroom requirements.  I knew the skills would allow me to serve my clients better one on one and while speaking to groups. Fortunately, the training company generously allows 4 months after the workshop to take the computer and essay tests. I didn’t feel any urgency, so I did absolutely nothing toward my NLP certification for almost 3 months. It wasn’t due to avoidance – I just had other tasks on my plate that were a higher priority.

I knew the clock was ticking and I needed to complete the tests.  Otherwise, I’d have to repeat the 4-day classroom course which meant spending unnecessary time and money which wasn’t productive.  With just 35 days left and a busy speaker schedule traveling throughout the US, it was time to get serious and complete my certification tests.

I admit that I rushed through both tests just to get them done and checked off my to-do list.  I thought the certification activities would take just a few hours.  Instead, it took almost 3 days to complete the exam and write the lengthy essay document.  I submitted both and got an email stating the evaluator would be reviewing my answers over the next 3-4 weeks.  I assumed I passed and would get my certificate shortly.

Three weeks later, I heard back from the training company. I figured it was my notice of certification.  Instead, the email told me 1) the evaluator wants more content for 9 or the 30 questions, 2) my answers fell short of the expected word count for several topics, and 3) I had 7 days to complete the revisions. On top of that, I had to find real test clients to practice my NLP skills and report the results.

I was expecting my certificate, not a do-over. That’s a lot of work to complete in 7 days.  I start pondering with myself … do I really want to do this work and get certified in NLP? Will my clients truly benefit from my certification? Is it worth repeating a third of the essays and finding friends willing to be guinea pigs?  Does NLP even work?  This feels like a lot of unexpected tasks without much notice.

Then I remind myself, successful people make decisions quickly and are slow to change their mind.  I reflect and remember why I chose to take the NLP course (improved communication skills, better ways to serve my clients, understanding mindsets, etc.) and settle in to re-take the essay questions – this time more seriously.  Now here’s my ah-ha moment….

While working with one test subject, he shared that he wants to stop procrastinating and get more done. That’s a pretty big transformation request for someone just learning NLP, but I agree to try a technique on him and write about it on the essay exam.  What I discovered hugely changed my perspective – especially since I teach businesses about the benefit of systems.

He confesses that he procrastinates to limit the time available to do his work. He intentionally shortens the time duration so if anyone criticizes his performance, he can justify the results as ‘not having enough time to do a good job’.  He admits that’s his rationale for procrastinating and his standard excuse for delivering work that may be considered average quality.  The short deadline also forces him to make faster decisions so he doesn’t have time to question his own judgment or reverse the choice.

Wow – that was incredibly strategic. I realize that he created a perfect business system – for procrastination!  He has a repeatable, consistent process that he follows every time.  That’s when it hit me.  I’ve been assuming that all systems are good systems.  Some systems, while technically a system by definition, produce consistently undesirable results.  Bad systems create bad outcomes.  I was only telling half the story when I recommend that companies implement systems.  What they really need are EFFECTIVE systems.

Successful business people are successful because they use proven systems that produce the best outcomes. These include systems for marketing, sales, money, operations, and people. Periodically, they re-evaluate their systems and purge the ones that are inefficient so only the best systems remain.

When you implement the best systems, you consistently get more done in less time so you have the freedom to do the things you enjoy. Wondering if you have the most effective systems in place?  I invite you to download the Top 5 Systems that Create Massive Productivity in Your Business guide.  CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD.

I’ll know in another month whether or not I passed the NLP certification requirement.  While I hope I my re- submission is acceptable, at least I learned a valuable lesson in the process about using the word ‘systems’ when I communicate.  I now realize I must say ‘proven systems’ or ‘best systems’ so I don’t mislead or encourage poor systems that support negative results like procrastination.

Please leave a comment on how systems save you time and money in your company.

Nancy Gaines

Nancy Gaines is CEO/Founder of Gain Advantages Inc. and has been advising small businesses and Fortune 100 companies how to increase revenues through proven systems for almost two decades. She is a best-selling author and international keynote speaker. Nancy has been named in the Top 100 Productivity Experts to follow on Twitter and has a global podcast downloaded in over 90 countries. Her main focus is creating business processes with actionable steps so her clients achieve more consistency, ease, and ultimate success.

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