Here’s an experience all entrepreneurs are familiar with: Your company faces a fork in the road, and you’re the only one who can make the call. I’m not talking about the problems that happen when you haven’t delegated properly. I mean the do-or-die, make-it-or-break-it, high-pressure decision-making that only comes your way when you’re the boss.
Some people are paralyzed in these moments. At the very least, we all feel a little fear. The voice in your head starts up. “Am I making a bad call? Will this endanger the livelihood of my employees?”
That voice is a natural reaction to the stress of a decision, but as I learned recently, it can be turned off. I discovered this, and a lot more, by reading David Meltzer’s book, Game-Time Decision Making: High-Scoring Business Strategies From The Biggest Names In Sports. As you can probably tell from the title, Meltzer is a sports guy. I know that might be a turnoff for some of you, but just bear with me. This book really is valuable from a business strategy point of view.
You see, Meltzer knows a bit about making a hard decision. He’s the CEO of Sports 1 Marketing, a renowned sports marketing firm. He’s also an entrepreneur and executive with 25 years of experience in sports and entertainment. And he’s used his talent and connections to dive into the heads of some of sports’ greatest players, coaches, and owners. These people face tremendous choices with millions of dollars on the line, playing out in real time and often on live TV. What Meltzer learned about decision-making changed the way I look at the subject completely.
Confidence Is Key In Every Decision
The best decisions are made with confidence, as Meltzer asserts in Game-Time Decision Making. Easy to say, right? As he points out, there is a lot more to it than that. You need to build cohesive teams within your organization. Surround yourself with people who support your choices and can be a sounding board for discussion. Whether you’re the head of a small but growing startup or coaching a team to the Superbowl, you have to know that your people have faith in you and will work to execute your decision.
Support helps build confidence, but so does a positive mindset. I know this is hard for a lot of people, but according to Meltzer, the most confident decision-makers tend to have a positive outlook. And if you think about it, that makes sense. When your thinking is clouded by negative thoughts, it will be challenging to move forward and make the right decision.
Sports Strategy Equals Business Strategy
Like I said before, being a sports guy, Meltzer leans heavily into sports analogies. As someone who isn’t big into sports, though, I didn’t find Game-Time Decision Making hard to follow. Sports and business go hand in hand. When a coach decides to pull a player from the game, that decision could mean millions of dollars gained or lost, depending on the outcome.
So, just go with the flow of Meltzer’s analogies. For example, he likens business owners to coaches, which makes sense. Both manage people and navigate the daily challenges of the enterprise, whether that’s a team or a company. In the face of stiff competition, both coaches and business owners have to make hard decisions and execute strategies to succeed.
From The Mouths Of Giants
Another great aspect is Meltzer’s use of sports heroes to illustrate the point he’s making. You don’t need to be a super fan to know the names Muhammed Ali, Michael Jordan, or Kobe Bryant. These greats and more appear in Game-Time Decision Making as Meltzer breaks down some of the toughest — and most famous — calls in sports history.
Overall, Meltzer’s eye is on the future. He wants you to build a strong team, master the systems and processes on which success depends, and crush any hard decision that comes around.After finishing the book, I found that its principles applied very easily to my own life. I think the biggest sign of success, though, is that the doubtful voice in my head is a lot quieter than it used to be. Some of that comes with experience, but Game-Time Decision Making is part of it as well. The book has a lot to offer entrepreneurs and other business strategists. Do yourself and your company a favor and check it out.