There’s a rule in decision-making that is paramount to your success. It goes like this: No matter how bad a situation is, you can always make it worse. You compound the problem by making another bad decision, and then another one still.
This happens because we feel pressure to make things better, and then we move too quickly before thinking matters through. It also happens because we forget this rule! Whatever has happened, no matter how terrible the situation looks, the situation will always be worsened by making a second bad decision.
Beyond remembering this important rule, the key is to slow down, take a breath and gain perspective. Talk to others, think things through and delay making another decision until the situation plays itself out and the dust settles. Fight the urge to react and save the day. Pause on trying to repair what has already occurred in an instant.
The only thing more depressing than a tough situation is the failed efforts of a leader who makes them worse with a second bad call. Don’t fall into this trap. Be deliberate after a big mistake or failed decision. Don’t throw away a chance at redemption by acting too quickly.