At the end of the year, I was shopping for a new laptop (I’m a bleeding-edge technology junkie) to take advantage of some tax benefits. I must have spent hours sorting through the labyrinth of possibilities. And part of this selection process was to maximize value. I put more time into this $2,000 purchase than I put into much more important decision I needed to make.
I will spend 30 minutes driving from Costco to Target to save $25 dollars on a new telephone, while I would easily spend $2,000 on an additional option on my car just to make the transaction easier.
There is a real gap for people and organizations in how they allocate time against the importance of a decision.
You may decide to acquire a company, rush to the purchase, and spend more money than you have made as an organization since you have been in business. Even if it took you ten years to make that much money, you might not contemplate the oddity of your expediency.
I was speaking with a superintendent of a very successful school district the other day over lunch. And he shared with me how school boards can take five minutes to discuss and approve a $50 million budget and then spend 30 minutes on a $1,200 item three weeks later. This is likely not surprising to any of you that have led an organization and handled a role with P & L responsibilities. It is still very disturbing.
When faced with minor decisions, move on. Don’t waste your time; it is too valuable! When faced with important, significant decisions, however, take the time to consider the impact even if it means walking away from the deal. What is often missed is all the regrettable outcomes that are unforeseen when you rush your decision making.