Decision making can be agonizing, especially when you consider what the long-term consequences of a bad decision could mean. You might get stuck in the wrong job, hire the candidate who will never work out, or invest in a program or consultant that sounded promising but has since fallen flat.

How To Make Decisions And Own Them

What are the objective criteria that will guide us toward making the right decision? Here is my take on how to make decisions and own them. 

Fact finding

This is the obvious first step. Do your research on the person or company and get as much background information as possible. Here’s a trick: when you evaluate a person, also do a Google image search. Many people seem to use only one or two of their favorite personal photos online. So, if you are researching a person, always search images as well. You may be surprised by what shows up. 

Make sure you check all the Google options (general, news, images, etc.) to get the widest scope as possible about a person or a subject. The more you know…

Character versus qualifications

Second thing to consider: you can teach someone a skill but you can’t change a person’s character. I will go for character over qualifications every time.

This is a lesson I learned many years ago from Barry Lategan, who was the first Vogue photographer. My job as an artist representative for a Hair and MakeUp Agency in Los Angeles was to show this photography legend a stack of 20 qualified hair and make-up artists for the job. I was accustomed to photographers picking apart details in their portfolios (this was before Photoshop, so you had to actually know what you were doing) and here is this larger-than-life photographer who politely looked at every single portfolio. And then he said to me, “Any one of them will do a fine job.” Mic drop! How could a professional like him say that? And that’s when it dawned on me that he believed in his OWN skill so much that he could teach anyone who had the basic skill set what he needed them to do. 

That day was over 20 years ago. I decided then and there that I wanted to be like Mr. Lategan. I’d rather invest and train someone who possesses the basic skill set versus trying to find the candidate with the most qualifications, only to discover they lack integrity and character. This also means that your leadership development has to always be top of mind.

Ask your inner circle and advisors

Another key strategy is that you want to hear from people with opposing views, not those who tell you more of the same. While it is always nice to have others agree with you, it is better to call on the people in your circle who tend to argue with you and disagree. Instead of rolling your eyes, try to see their point of view and listen to every word. I have found that my friends who are my toughest critics often push me far outside my comfort zone and help me to see something I wouldn’t normally consider. 

Fear of failing

The final component when we make decisions is COURAGE to get over our fear of failing. Why? Because it takes courage to make decisions, especially when you are not certain if it’s the right one. But know this: the world will not end as a consequence of your bad decision. You may not win the contract, you may have to rehire, you may have wasted your time, you may have invested in the wrong thing or person—but at least now you know. You won’t make that same mistake again!

I posted a video about failure recently. It was a keynote I gave to a roomful of middle school and high school students at regional finals for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). My approach to making bad decisions or failing is very pragmatic. We are going to screw up because we are human. Expect it, embrace it, and own it. And besides, every time you get to a dead end, you can cross that journey off your list.

Just make the decision already

The most important aspect about decision making is to actually MAKE A DECISION. It is better to make a half-baked decision than to make none at all. It is better to commit to something versus never committing to anything. Because if you avoid making decisions, life starts to happen to you. You are no longer in charge and you will never move one inch ahead in life. 

I have invested in programs and teachers that were great, and some that sucked. Either way, I have found ways to take something away from the experience. Whether it is a contact, a connection, or an idea—I always learn something. Sometimes I pay a little and get a lot out of it, and sometimes I pay a lot and only get a little out of it. But at least I’m moving forward. 

Do you want to add anything to the list that can help our readers with how to make decisions and own them?


Beate Chelette is the Founder of The Women’s Code and serves as the Programming Chair for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO-LA). Once $135,000 in debt and a single mother, she successfully sold her business to Bill Gates in a multi-million dollar deal.

Beate’s supports Business Owners and organizations who want to reach them two-fold. As The Growth Architect she creates training, outreach and sponsorship programs through customized Entrepreneur skills training following the 5 Star Success Blueprint that shows step-by-step how to grow, build and scale businesses.

In addition Beate provides leadership development programs for organizations that want to implement the ROI of Balanced Leadership through The Women’s Code, her signature system that educates leaders and helps companies achieve gender equality. The Women’s Code creates and implements programs that improve organizational culture, foster productive work environments and help companies improve their people ROI.

Beate is a respected speaker and mentor and is the author of the #1 International Amazon Bestseller “Happy Woman Happy World – How to Go From Overwhelmed to Awesome”, a book that corporate trainer and best-selling author Brian Tracy calls “a handbook for every woman who wants health, success and a fulfilling career.”

If you’d like to book Beate as a speaker on Leadership or Entrepreneurship for your next event please connect here.

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