On a recent flight I was listening to one of my favorite artists, Peter Gabriel, and a line from a song of his caught my attention.
“But it’s so clear and bright, the other side of maybe,” it went, and I couldn’t help but think about how true that is in business and PR, although that certainly wasn’t what Gabriel was referring to.
It got me thinking about decision-making and how important it is to be decisive. So much can happen from the starting position of a clear yes or no.
As PR agency professionals, we often feel the need to explain—and over-explain. We want to provide our clients with the full spectrum of options and offerings: what to do, potential upsides and downsides, reasons, and ramifications. Yet sometimes the best and most productive course of action for the client would be for us to deliver a simple answer—yes or no, do it or don’t.
Here are three good reasons to be decisive:
1. It leads to progress.
Only a clear answer enables us to take action and move to the next steps. As PR professionals, in our desire to provide good news and positive action, we might shy away from saying no. But we can’t let that desire cloud our ability to see when the time is right to give a negative answer when it’s the right response. A “no” answer is better than no answer.
2. Decisiveness boosts confidence, and confidence is contagious.
When you take charge of a situation, clients—and people in general—respond to the leadership. You’re in charge, and they’re in good hands. As the unwritten Rule 13 of the military states, “When in charge, take charge.”
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3. Decisiveness gets the job done.
Sometimes you’ll be right, sometimes wrong, but either way, you’ll avoid the ambiguity that causes the confusion and delay in the workplace.
Ed James is president/co-founder of Cornerstone PR. You can follow him on Twitter @edwjames.