October 16; Decisions Are Always Made: By You; By Someone Else; By Circumstance
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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Chapter Ten: Deciding 16 October

“Make up your mind,”

Moab says.

“Render a decision…”

Isaiah 16:3a

Decisions Are Always Made: By You; By Someone Else; By Circumstance

Decide

It was a big yard and I was a little kid. Going up to my neighbor I had asked her for the job of cutting her overgrowing grass. She looked relieved. She asked if I could rake it too.

“Yes!” I said. I was going to make some money.

“How much?” she asked.

I told her to pay me whatever she thought the job was worth. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was worth and I was not brave enough to quote a price. The lawn took hours to cut.

“I’m finished,” I said.

“How much?” she asked, again.

I still couldn’t decide. But she knew I had worked for hours struggling with mower and rake and bagging.   “Whatever you think…”

She gave me one dollar. It wouldn’t even pay for the fuel: gas and soft-drinks. I looked at the single dollar and she looked at me…

***

Management is defined by making decisions. Deciding to ‘plan’ on what is to be done; who does what in ‘organizing’; ‘leading’ the work; and finally measuring the performance against the plan in the ‘control’ component. Staff should make recommendations but the boss decides. If boss doesn’t decide and doesn’t control events then the decision and events could be controlled by others.

David George is a former Air Force pilot and Senior Adult Pastor in a Baptist Church. (Retired military personnel always make good Pastors.) He writes,

The story is told of former President Ronald Reagan who once had an aunt who took him to a cobbler for a pair of new shoes. The cobbler asked young Reagan, “Do you want square toes or round toes?”

Unable to decide, Reagan didn’t answer, so the cobbler gave him a few days. Several days later the cobbler saw Reagan on the street and asked him again what kind of toes he wanted on his shoes.

Reagan still couldn’t decide, so the shoemaker replied, “Well, come by in a couple of days. Your shoes will be ready.” When the future president did so, he found one square-toed and one round-toed shoe!

“This will teach you to never let people make decisions for you,” the cobbler said to his indecisive customer.

“I learned right then and there,” Reagan said later, “if you don’t make your own decisions, someone else will.” David George (2014-01-30). The Daily Thought Shaker (p. 30). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Decisions have to be made and sometimes the customer can help. Especially if your customer is Jack Welch.

In 1969, Terry Holland was mowing several lawns on his street when he knocked on Jack Welch’s door, hoping to add another client to his list. At the tender age of 13, Terry was excited to get the job. But he didn’t expect what was coming.

A middle manager at the time, Jack Welch would later gain celebrity status as General Electric’s CEO for taking the organization from a market value of $14 billion to more than $410 billion.

Terry continues in a Forbes magazine interview,

…Jack asked me, ‘how much money do you want to mow my lawn?’ I told him, ‘I really don’t give a price, I let people pay me whatever they think is fair.’

So Jack started pointing around the neighborhood. He asked, ‘How much do you get for mowing that guy’s lawn?’ I told him three bucks. He pointed to another house. ‘How much do you get paid for his?’ ‘Three and a quarter.’

‘I’ll tell you what,’ Jack said, ‘I’ll give you four dollars to mow my lawn on one condition… I want my lawn to look better than any of theirs.’”

***

…My neighbor lady looked down on me with a kind smile. I was hurt. She said that my lawn work was certainly worth more than that one dollar. She said that next time I would need to decide what the job was worth and stand up and give the customer the price. She was giving me a life lesson with a value greater than any immediate cash I could have received. I took her advice.

I researched and came up with a competitive price for my services and gave this quote upfront before beginning the work.

A few weeks later I revisited the woman who taught me the lesson. I asked to cut her grass and quoted a price for the premium service.

It was double the going rate.

She paid with a smile.

“Make up your mind,” Moab says. “Render a decision…” Isaiah 16:3a

###

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30 Responses

  1. Liam Clancy says:

    Services are what make the world go round. One person pays another to do a job in order to do their job for another person. A lesson that I have learned recently that goes along with this is that, you can not be afraid for the price that is fair for you or your company. I learned this in the moving business while shadowing sales people giving quotes on moves. Most people get multiple quotes so I saw angry customers complaining about our price being too high. However, when you sit down and analyze the quote the prices are laid out to show where the money went to. For instance, looking at our quote against another we can explain the inefficiencies or faults in opposing quotes.

    Other times the customer is less worried about the price. For example, we are the third company to come in and give a quote. We are in the middle price wise in all the quotes; the customer chooses us. This is an example of the customer looking for peace of mind in not going for the cheapest price and getting the best overall quality. In the moving business, and other businesses, you get what you pay for. As cliche as it sounds, it really is true. The price a company gives is carefully calculated to be profitable to the company and appealing to the customer. The price the customer pays usually correlates with the quality of the service or good.

  2. Omar Almutlaq says:

    Proving services is an important part of life cycle in a way or another we are all considered to be a service providers… a doctor who’s treating his patients is proving them with a service, a professor who is teaching is providing a service no matter what our speciality is we somewhere are considered a service providers in a sense.
    Asking for a set price is a good thing as long it’s fair for both parties or asking for a higher price with providing an excellent service instead of a lower price with poor quality.

  3. Jillian Sudo says:

    This article is a great life lesson. In life and not just in business it is important to always share your opinion. If you do not share your opinion you are always going to be left unhappy. When it comes to services it is important to be confident in your prices so that you are not walked all over. Decision-making is a huge part of the business world. Without decision-making you are allowing the customer to make the decision for you, something that will be helpful to the customer rather than helpful to you.

  4. Ana Brizuela says:

    Service is a very important part in a business. The majority of business has a costumer service, which could help get costumers and make them stay. In the life cycle everything is provided by a service. For example a teacher is providing a service, the janitor is providing a service; a nanny is providing a service. This article is a great article because it shows how you should always say what you want to say no matter what. In a service people should be confidence in their prices, product and more. In business people should be careful with their decision and if they made their mind towards a decision they should commit to it and do not let anyone ran over you. In a way when you think about service, something comes to your mind, which is that service is a cycle that does not stop. I pay for my house to be built, then maybe they would like to pay for their son’s education and the teacher wants to pay for a food delivery and so on. This cycle is what keeps or economy going without it becomes a recession. I believe a person does not understand the importance of services.

  5. Melissa Lacayo says:

    I found this article very interesting. In every moment it is very important to share one’s opinion. Services are part of the life cycle. We are always providing services for others and being provided services by others. Asking for a set price is a good thing as long as it benefits both parties.

  6. Andrew Keleher says:

    Knowing your value is an important thing in sales. Deciding price can be a very difficult decision. You need to know your own worth and be able to make the customer not think that you are taking advantage of them. When you do decide what you are charging you have to say it with confidence. People will always try to barter and get a deal but you have to be ready to explain the reasonings behind such price. If you let people walk over you, you will not be able to be as profitable as you should be so you need to know your worth. Jack Welch said he would pay four dollars if his lawn to look better than his neighbors. If I was Terry Holland I would make sure that I made his lawn looked great and going forward i would put more effort into new customers so could start charging them four dollars as well. By doing a good job not only does it say a lot about your services but also gives you the opportunity to increase your price without having to explains yourself because the proof is in the results.

  7. Gabriel Haddad says:

    This article shows that a person needs to be able to make their own decisions without help of others sometimes. It is good to get the opinion of another person in life, but not in all situations. It shows that you need to be prepared in any situation you are in no matter what. In regards to the Regan story, it was something as small as a shoe decision that he could not make. He learned from experience (including the experience at the cobbler) and became one of the best Presidents of the United States by making logical and important decisions.

  8. Andrew Issner says:

    The article highlighted two very important aspects of business. The first, do your research and have a price in mind for what ever service or product you are selling. Leaving this decision up to someone else might get you a customer, but could leave you without making any net profit for your efforts. The second aspect concerns decision making in general. As a manager, you have the responsibility for the success or failure of your team, company etc. and success or failure depends upon your ability to execute good decisions. This does not mean that you cannot get input from your staff, but it is important to be clear that the final decision will rest with you. If you are given an opportunity to have input on a decision and you do not and then do not like the outcome, you have no one to blame but yourself. In business the stakes are even higher and you cannot afford to be indecisive.

  9. Khaled Agha says:

    I believe the lessons to be learned from this particular article are the following; consumers should do better research before making a tough decision, and employees should also be aware that sometimes customers might not know what they want right off the bat. Take Apple for example, their main goal in their stores is helping build customer relations between their devices and customers while also making sure the customers get a amazing journey from start to end. This includes aiding in any questions or concerns and even as far as decisions. Customers are always looking for the top deals that are worthy of their dollars, and most places are going to be competitive to gain profit. It is up to them to be prepared for any situation that might occur, even as simple as a customer not being able to make a decision about a shoe.

  10. Jorge Guzman says:

    This article was very interesting in the fact that pricing a product and/or service is not as easy as it seems. One of the first things that should be done when looking for a price is to do research of the market and see what other people are selling it on the market. If someone were to let someone else set the price the way they want it, you will not be able to make a profit because it is most likely that you will not make a profit selling the product and/or service at the set price. Pricing is one of the most decisions important decisions that must be made, so decision making, in general, would be considered to be difficult. Decision making is one of the hardest things a boss can do because it can affect how a company can make money. The article also showed that it doesn’t always hurt to get advice from others as it could one day be helpful.

  11. sam saidi says:

    I found this article to be extremely relevant to my job at a restaurant when it comes to adding different items to our entrees. Some items aren’t in the system to add a price to so the kitchen is then responsible for placing a reasonable price on adding that item to the plate. You can’t let the customer choose the price because they will choose a price that benefits them over your business. This must be decided for the customer before hand. The second the customer has power over price setting your business is gonna have to sacrifice profit for customer service.

  12. Brendan Rooney says:

    My sister has a horrible problem of not being able to make decisions on her own. It could be what movie to watch or what to have for dinner. I end up making the decision and she ends up getting made half the time and I’m like “make up your mind!”. I should show her this article because being a good, confident decision maker is an important characteristic. CEOs have to make tons of decisions for companies that can influence millions of dollars. Through research and studying they come to the best decision and they do not hesitate. The article is a great life lesson because it shows if you can’t make a decision people will make it for you and take advantage of you.

  13. Jack McFarlane says:

    When I was younger, I had a similar lawn mowing service. Only mine was not successful in the slightest. I would go door to door hoping one of my neighbors would accept my services for the small price of $20. It did not matter what the size yard was, me and my friend were going to charge $20. After days of going door to door we only got one customer. We continued to cut this woman’s yard for a few years. She was an elderly woman. She would call us and it would be a quick way to make $20. I am glad that my friend and I did not leave the price decision up to the elderly woman, as we might have made less than $20 a mow, like yourself.

  14. Steve kornutik says:

    Making your own decisions is an important lesson that needs to be learned. This article relates heavily to what I do on a daily basis. Working for a big General contractor there are a lot of decisions to be made and each one needs to be made correctly or else it will cost us a lot of time and money. I learned the first week that I couldn’t rely on sub contractors to be making important decisions in terms of design and build processes. I learned the hard way when i told someone to do what they thought was best and what they thought was best turned out to be wrong. When you let someone make decisions that affect your job you risk a lot for yourself. I learned this and now always have an answer for people when they ask and always make sure its my own and that i am confident in it.

  15. Evan Turkovic says:

    This article is great at showing life lessons; the main one is being able to make your own decisions. I’ve always had a problem making small decisions like what to have for dinner or what TV show to watch, because of all the options that are available. I think that it won’t be the same when major decisions come along. I need to be able to put my foot down and come to solid decisions if I ever want to make it in the business world. Price setting is a major part in the service business, you need to be able to give your client the right price so that they are happy and you are able to make money. If you have a person that can’t decided what to set the price at someone else will make that decision for you. You may not always be happy with what they decide because it will usually go in their favor.

  16. William Lashar says:

    Whenever somebody starts something they he never done before like a job or a sport, there is always a moment in time where they are tentative and or nervous to make decisions due to
    lack of confidence. However, there is always a point in time (usually a mistake) that completely changes this pattern and forces the person to make decisions on their own. The article above shows a good example of this as mowing the lawn was worth much more than just one dollar. I myself have this problem as I’m always unsure and want another persons input. Im hoping to change this habit as I would not want it to bite me in the future.

  17. Matthew Michalski says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article because I have encountered a similar problem. I did not know how to quote the price of the service I was providing, and ultimately wished I had never taken the offer because of the low wage I was paid. I learned that people will take advantage of you if you are not prepared and present yourself in a way that portrays yourself as being too nice. Being prepared and being able to negotiate are key aspects for yourself to be able to be satisfied with the end pay.

  18. Matthew Pham says:

    Indecisiveness can really hurt a business and managers. This does not mean go out and make a quick instinct decision and go with your gut feeling every time. Ask for help if needed and fully understand the situation before making a decision. Taking too long can hurt and that is when experience can be an important factor. It is acceptable to have others help you make decisions but not for others to make them for you especially for managers which can look real bad. Patience and experience are important in making decisions and not all of them will be easy which is why it is good to have help when you need it from your co workers or another manager.

  19. Brian Rogers says:

    Decisions are the be all end all of a business. If you make a great decision your business succeeds, if you make a poor one your business will suffer greatly. However, no decision is always the worst decision. In any aspect of life going into a situation without a plan is like going into battle without armor, or going deep sea diving without any scuba gear, you are in trouble. With that being said, decisions are tough to make alone. It is important to surround yourself with a good, capable, trustworthy team to help make recommendations and ultimately coming to a decision. Once the decision is made, it is very important to stick to that decision and to allow yourself and team to go all in, 100%, and make the decision a good one by putting in the necessary work.

  20. Keely says:

    In management you need to be able to make decisions and to decide. You need to be able to say what you want and what you need up front. If not then you may not receive it and may be walked all over. You need to speak up before someone speaks for you. In management you need to be able to plan, decide, control, and lead, these are all vitally important to make it in the business world.
    While businesses are full of teamwork, the boss should be able to make the final decisions and control and lead the company. I cannot stress how important it is for the boss to be the leader, not someone who is full of themselves, but someone who can help the team out and make important decisions, someone to take charge. If a boss cannot do so then they would not be the boss. A boss should not be controlled by his team, he should be the prime decision maker. Choices can be made from a group or with some help, however whoever can make the final decision can be seen as the leader. Being a decision maker is a great ability to have.

  21. Gerritt Coughlin says:

    Price is essential in the world of business and everyday life, so make your choices with decisiveness. I have the exact same story as Professor Yoest has. Make decisions so that others will not make them for you, be the leader of your one man landscaping company. Choose the most ethical and moral option, do not take advantage of someone. Purchasing service based products are much different from goods. There is a price tag with UPC codes and barcodes on goods, but there are not pieces of laminated paper with strings attached to the worker.

    Most people have the foundational steps of being able to do a task by having the correct skill sets and tools, but what is the point of doing a job without understanding your worth. One is unprepared if there is no quote for the services accomplished. Henceforth, a young man who understands that decisions are important can implement this principle into their future work life. If a manager of a company is asked by an employee what to work on for a campaign project, and the manager responds with “whatever you think” than that failed project is due to the lack of a manager’s communication and decision making. Success comes from planning and deciding future actions to take.

  22. Matthew Brennan says:

    I love this example and the lesson associated with it. So much of being an effective manager is making decisions and for whatever reason in today’s society, no one ever wants to make a decision. A major reason why we have managers is to make these decisions and “tough calls” that other people would not. Setting a price is only one of many tough decisions that a manager has to make or sign off on. Often times, paralysis when it comes to making a decision can be detrimental and lead to more loss. I think of your example of “information paralysis” and how often it is better to make a decision earlier with most of the information then a decision a week late with all of the information. Even though this was originally presented by a general in the context of war, it is so true in business as well. So many managers have missed out on incredible opportunities purely because they did not make a decision. Even though this lack of decision making in the business world doesn’t lead to casualties like it often does in war, it quite often will cost a manager his position or even job. Therefore, it is important for everyone, young and old, to learn this lesson in decision making.

  23. Katarina Percopo says:

    This article is a great read and actually motivated me to make my own decisions. It’s true that if a boss cannot make a decision than others could be making it for them and the outcome could be somethin that one didn’t want. It’s imprtsnt for a business to make decisions and be on top of what needs to get done in the company… if managers aren’t making decisions then nothing is going to get done and the whole company will be chaos. It is also true that decions can be made with help but ultimately a boss needs to make a final decision.

  24. Lane Adams says:

    This article is great and speaks the truth! You are the only person that can make decisions for yourself; no one knows you better than yourself. If you let other people make decisions for you, especially business ones, then it made lead to people taking advantage of you. The decisions that another person makes for you also might not be in your best interest. It is also wise to conduct business with confidence, it is never off-putting to have confidence and to know which direction you want to take your business. The moral is: always make your own decisions!

  25. Austin Larson says:

    Deciding what to do can be very hard because you have to make decisions all day, some easier than most. This article does a great job of explaining the importance of making a decision by explaining the lawn mowing example as a kid. This is a perfect example because it shows how awful other people’s decisions can be compared to yours. I run into the same problem when I am asked what I want for dinner and I almost always respond “I don’t care” or “I don’t know”. Sometimes I get very disappointed when I find out that I am eating a bunch of vegetarian food but, I never gave my mom an answer to what I wanted for dinner. I think that it is important to always have a decision ready but to listen to recommendations first before making the decision. It is important to hear the other recommendations because they could turn out to be the better decision than the one that was planned. Also by listening to the recommendations, it allows there to be a closer bond between boss and staff, making the working environment more comfortable. While it is hard to listen to everyone’s recommendation, it allows the boss to make better, stronger decisions.

  26. Jack Vispoli says:

    This article raises a good point on how important it is to be able to make decisions quick and on your own. When trying to sell a product you need to know the value of it and how much people are going to pay for it. It is not good to let your consumer pick the price because they are always going to want to get your product or service for a cheaper price. Although you do not have to pick the exact same price, It helps to look at others that are in your market segment and see what they are pricing for their products or services to get a better gauge on what the customer will pay. A lot of people are indecisive and it wastes them a lot of time. If you practiced making your decisions at a more quicker rate you can save so much time. When it comes to being a manager there are certain times where the decision needs to made right away and there is barely time to think the whole thing through. Getting used to making fast decisions can be useful because when the time comes and you have to make that important decision in minutes, you’ll be ready to pick the best option. For a manager, making decisions is one of their main roles.

  27. Andrew Laurenzano says:

    This article shares an invaluable life lesson. So many times in my life I have run into the issue of not knowing what I want right away, or not being quick to make a decision, and it has always come back to haunt me. Eventually, I learned that I had to make my own decisions, with both confidence and haste. This lesson is so important for people within a business, as their decisions will determine the fate of not only themselves, but the company itself. One must be able to make decisions for both themselves and others in order to be successful in this regard.

  28. Taghreed Altassan says:

    This article is a great life lesson. In your work and life, it is important to always share your opinion and chose the best thing for your life or in your job. if you don’t share your opinion and decide thing for yourself other people will decide for your things that you may not like it. Also the people will give you their opinion and take advantage of you in your life or in your job. when it comes to services it is important to be confident and chose your prices (fee) so that no one will trick you for their interest. I think Decision- making is a huge part of business world and of course in your life. Without decision- making you are allowing other people to make decision for you. Asking for a set price is a good thing as long as it benefits both parties. Also knowing your value is an important thing in sales. I know that deciding price can be a very difficult decision. You need learn your own worth and be able to make the customer not to think that you are taking advantage of them. When you do decide what you are charging you have to say it with confidence. finally, when you think about decision support system, you should think about alternatives and the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative.

  29. Alejandro Cabral says:

    This is a great read for upcoming entrepreneurs that are looking to establish a company within a big market. Its also a very valuable life lesson, which I can relate to. As my dad always says “doubt kills.” Ive always been tought to have assurance and a made up mind when it comes to making a decision, or someone will make it for you, and may end up doing something outside of your preferences. In today’s society, mostly everything is a competition, and to a certain extent hostility and assurance can help someone thrive in many fields. Like the example presented with Reagan, he didn’t make up his mind, so the cobbler gave him both, which might not look well on feet, and was definitely not within the soon to be president’s preference.

  30. Callie A Silvestri says:

    I found the article about to be relatable and comical in a sense. Growing up I use to babysit some of the kids around the neighborhood and one of the most common questions I would get it was it my going rate. I often answered the question the same as Professor Yoest, “whatever you feel is right”. Now looking back on the statement after reading this article I can’t help, but to laugh at my young self a little bit. It is important to know your worth and be confident in yourself. Even though the cases above are about young children, this is a problem that can carry over into ones adult life. In the business world you have to be informed and know your worth. When going into a meeting or interview you must be confident in yourself and not just go along with what others say. It is crucial that you are informed enough to be able to stand alone and tall.

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