You start your business and get used to making decisions without having input from anyone else to consider. Most of the time your decisions turn out to be good ones, but once in a while you make a bad one.

It might be taking on a project that you shouldn't have. It could be trying to do a bunch of small projects to fill a hole in the company's schedule, projects that the company can't make significant money doing. Or you might decide to work with a client who then tries to bully you day after day.

How can you make it less likely you will make short-sighted decisions like these? Include someone in the decision-making process instead of doing it on your own.

Who? A key employee.

It could be bringing on a production manager. A good production manager is comfortable making decisions using the available information without having to do weeks of information gathering. A good production manager also has the ability to understand the capacity of the production team.

A key employee is confident but not arrogant. They have the courage to say what they think even if it is not what you want to hear. These might include that the production team is already at capacity and can't take on more work right now. Or that a project manager is under stress from a family situation and is requiring more help from the production manger for the time being. They have the best interests of the company in mind. They might also be a bit more distanced than you are from the unpleasant "surprises" that are part of owning a business.

Genuinely being interest in their opinion and seriously considering what they have to tell you can save you, the owner, and your company a tremendous amount of grief and frustration.

"Please tell me what you think about us taking on the Smith project."

"I hadn't thought of that. What would make that a problem?"

"If we don't do the Smith project, how would we keep on target regarding our revenue goal?"

"What you're suggesting is something I thought of but was unsure of how we could make it happen. How do you see us pulling that off?"

Ask for input. Ask questions to get clear about the key employee's point of view. Do this thoroughly, not quickly, so yo will make the employee feel heard and you will be more likely to truly "get" what the employee's perspective is.

Then make your decision about the matter. If the decision is to do what you were originally thinking, the key employee probably will likely back you up on it, as you considered their input first. If you decide to do what the key employee suggested, don't end up blaming them alone if things go awry. You made the decision, not them.

To be more successful, you must become a better decision maker.

The way to do that is to truly listen to your key employee(s). And to let them know that you value their input.

The truth is that a good key employee can open the door to a future for your company that you never conceived of. You deserve that, so start asking them questions, not just telling them what to do.