The Confidence to Decide: A Case Study

Wow! The confidence to decide. Wouldn’t that be great?

Sometimes the consequences of a decision will bring about major changes; sometimes the impact is barely noticeable. What do you need in order to have the confidence to decide, especially when the future direction of your business hinges on your decision?

Michael Goodman had to make a decision; a big one. He had built a small but growing financial planning division in a mid-size New York City accounting firm. The date for his contract review was fast approaching. The terms he had negotiated regarding equity when he had started a year and a half earlier were no longer acceptable to him. He felt he n0w deserved much more equity because he had built the division from the ground up into a substantial pr0fit center.

Michael’s challenge was to determine the equity percentage he felt was acceptable. The more he thought about it, the higher the percentage became. He knew he was putting his position on the line and he didn’t feel prepared to face the decision.

What gave him the confidence to decide and take a stand for what he wanted? In this case he needed to get a clear sense of his own value and put dollars to it. He also needed to get confirmation from others and from the marketplace that his thinking was correct.

Although he really didn’t want to leave, by the time he had to make his presentation he knew that if the decision-makers were not willing to meet his terms, he was ready to walk. He had thought through and made a basic plan and budget for what it might take to go out on his own. He even had a couple of options sitting in the wings as the time grew closer, because he saw how inflexible things seemed to be. He had gained the confidence to walk away and go out on his own when his terms were not met.

Today Michael is an independent financial planner who is the principal of Wealthstream Advisors, Inc., http:// In less than 2 years he has doubled assets under management and exceeded his goals. His staff are carefully selected and trained to support his vision and his plan. He obviously made a good choice in setting his boundaries and sticking to them.

Do you have an important business decision to make? Here are the steps to help you make it with confidence.

1 – Gather as much pertinent information as possible. What are the critical factors? What is your goal?
2 – Is there a tipping point for you? Where does something no longer make sense?
3 – What does the market tell you? What are the financial considerations?
4 – Ask others who might be affected by your decision. Get feedback from colleagues and staff.
5 – What plans do you need to have in place to support your decision?
6 – Consider the probable outcomes of a few possible choices.
7 – Put a timeframe on your decision to help you focus on gathering and analyzing your information.
8 – Make your decision and communicate it to everyone who needs to know.
9 – Follow through and take action on your decision.


Apply these decision-making steps to the next decision you have to make. Being prepared and getting confirmation on your thinking goes a long way toward giving you the confidence you need to make a good decision.

Your decision might not always return the results you desire, but you’ll drastically increase your odds by arming yourself with adequate information and support prior to making it.