Judgement is one of the most vital aspects of business success – and is especially crucial when building a new venture. It is the mainstay in the face of ambiguity and uncertainty and is a valuable skill to have when experience and information alone may not be sufficient.
The importance of judgement has become abundantly clear even in the past few months. The fall of celebrated unicorns such as Powa and Zenefits demonstrates that even the most experienced investors and serial entrepreneurs may misjudge market potential and the optimal growth path, respectively.
In a world that is increasingly smaller, we see new ventures going global faster than ever. At the same time, local entrepreneurs are quick to adapt innovative business models from across the globe and leaders in traditional industries see the threat of disruption.
With these fast-moving trends fuelled by modern media, the need for role models is more urgent. Thus it is becoming increasingly common for those running businesses, and budding entrepreneurs, to look to other markets and business heroes for inspiration on how to make their venture successful.
Seeking out role models
While there is no denying that the likes of Arianna Huffington or Jack Dorsey are among the finest business minds around, focusing too much on what others have achieved will not always benefit your organisation directly. Even pattern matching provides just a fuzzy signal on what has been successful and won’t necessarily translate into success. After all, if there was a recipe for guaranteed business success, each of us could cook up a lucrative business.
The nature of building a new business is that it is just that – new. As such, you are likely to face situations that have not occurred in the past, and in a setting that is probably quite unique. While it is useful to know what smart people have done, it’s imperative to follow and trust your own judgement as well.
The success and failures you read about, and the choices that the rock stars of entrepreneurship and business have made, are important tools in your arsenal. But no one will know better than you, or care as much as you do, to make the right call in any given situation.
There is no blueprint for judgement success, but the following are good points to consider.
Ask people what they think in addition to asking them what they know. Just as you do not blindly follow general advice, don’t ignore the views of people in your team or others willing to share their thoughts.
Plan and adjust
Mark your destination and point your business towards it. But don’t drive on auto-pilot. Keep your eyes open, take side roads when you are blocked and ensure that you stay tuned to changing market conditions.
As you respond to obstacles, don’t go paving new roads when you don’t need to. Don’t be afraid to borrow some things that have worked. A new venture, for instance, has enough uncertainty to contend with. If there is an easy, tried and true way of doing things, don’t take unnecessary chances, use it.
Develop your skills
Business and management skills will help you learn to trust your judgement. Too often I see people who have no experience in business that are afraid to trust themselves. With the right training, however, I have seen them blossom and go on to form successful ventures. Recognise your limitations, strive to learn more, and always come back to taking action.
Growing a business at any level is an immense challenge. With success and growth comes increased responsibility and complexity. If you constantly refine and reflect on your judgement, it will grow as well – as should your trust in it.