When small decisions turn into big ones
Milk spills over the breakfast table. Just after we have cleaned off the crumbs, cornflakes and toys. Just as we are about to leave, and just as we are about to be late. I am wearing a warm winter coat and my scarf is lying on the table.
Out of the corner of my eye I can see our three-year-old in the hall starting to take off the pink overalls, the ones that took such a long time to put on. I grab a cloth and wipe the table. Just as I am about to pick up the two children and dash out into the cold winter morning, my five-year-old shouts out “Pappa, it’s a milk rabbit! Stop! There’s a milk rabbit on the table! Look, look! “ And he pushes the cloth away.
We adults make up to ten thousand decisions every day. That’s more than 3.5 million decisions per year. Some of us spend more time choosing a supplier of electricity than we do choosing our partner for life. Social media is now ever present. New information reaches us in a steady flow
with each new email and each new excel spreadsheet. The ability to make good decisions is becoming increasingly important in a world that is changing fast. Time is a key commodity as we are exposed to more and more information. And when we find it hard to make a decision, we usually go with our gut feeling rather than trying to analyse things rationally.
Running a business involves an ocean of decision-making. The decisions are usually fun, the challenges often welcome. Investment, new projects, pedal-to-the-floor decisions. But change can cause problems, and making difficult decisions can feel very lonely. Sometimes my children ask, ‘What did you do at work today?’ And so I have to think, ‘Well, what did I do?’ And I answer ‘I made a decision.’ And my children think I am so boring, because they were playing pirates. The best decisions I make are made out on the running track, when my brain has space to work and my thoughts run free. Or out on the sea when the weather is kind. Or maybe in the supermarket late in the evening when the shopping aisles are empty.
Consider the big decisions you have made in your life. Or the small ones, for that matter. The decisions that you can remember. Just like that morning when we spilled the milk. We were late getting to pre-school because we played with the milk rabbit for a while. The day’s plans trickled away like the rabbit’s ears. And that is when I made a decision. For the first time. I had always been in such a rush. I’ve decided, I told the children in the car. I’m going to stay and eat breakfast with you.
I had never seen my children so happy. They showed me how their world was, their routines. I really like to think they were proud to show off their dad to the other kids. And all the stress of queuing in the morning rush hour faded away. I had made the right decision. Driving into the office I felt like a pirate.
Mattias Malmer, CEO