Marketing Minute 3:The Powerful Non-Decision

Strategic Decision Making

Strategic Decision Making

Instilling some Marketing Discipline!!

Once the issue of Marketing and Sales Planning has been addressed (see previous issue) our success in Marketing depends on how well we turn this into action. Nothing that has been planned will happen all by itself – we have to follow through on planning with action.

How many times have we (I certainly have) spent much time effort and energy in planning activities that fall completely flat because we/I did not follow through. The ugly and unpopular word “discipline” is the first one that springs to mind. How do we enforce discipline in our Marketing and Sales activities.

2 key things unlock our potential:

  1. Advance Decision Making
  2. Focus

The following, with particular reference to Decision Making, was a wake-up call to me:


The Powerful Non-decision

The decisions we do not make are decisions by default. They are often more decisive than the decisions we do make.

Decisions we do not make

Have you noticed how the decisions we do NOT make often affect us a lot more than the ones we actually make?

Perhaps we need to stop once a month and actively search for our non-decisions and re-state them as active decisions, just to see if they bug us.

They bug me. A lot. Because if I change “I haven’t had time to start writing on that book I decided to write a year ago” to, “I have decided not to start writing on that book I decided to write”; or “there simply doesn’t seem to be enough time to exercise”  to, “I have decided that I will no longer exercise” – then you have to ask yourself the painful question about which decision you stand behind.

The impact of non-decisions

Some non-decisions we make at work have enormous implications. These should make us all think; “I decide not to phone any of the prospective clients I have written to”; “I will not follow-up on the clients request for more information”, or “I won’t bother to plan adequately for the appointment I have set up for two days time.”

Some non-decisions seem a result of Information Overload and a factor of the technology we use. Rephrasing the consequences as decisions we may have taken “that it should be possible to reach me 24 hrs a day”, or “to read more information than I need, and often the same information twice”.

Taking action

The sentences often sound ridiculous. But the point is, if something sounds really silly, it tends to highlight areas where we can take decisive action. Taking this action can change what we are doing – let’s do it.


Why focus?

For the same reason that the specialist cricketer, be they, a bowler or batsman will always outperform the All-rounder.  Just compare the lifetime performances of the likes of Kepler Wessels (batting) and Alan Donald (bowling) to those of Shaun Pollock (batting and bowling).  Think of other examples from the sport you love to follow…

Focus is the task of identifying what you do best and spending time, attention and energy to leverage this ability. It is not ignoring the rest but acknowledging where your strengths lie and where necessary (and if at all possible) aiming to hand the other tasks over to people, teams or technology that do it better.

Conclusion: Convert planning to action. Do what you do best. “outsource” the rest.

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