How to Make Better Decisions with Nicole Glaros
INTRODUCTION: Welcome to the Daily Bolster. Each day we welcome transformational executives to share their real world experiences and practical advice about scaling yourself, your team, and your business.
Matt Blumberg: Welcome to The Daily Bolster. I'm Matt Blumberg, co- founder and CEO of Bolster, and I'm here today with Nicole Glaros. Nicole is an entrepreneur, she's an executive, she's an investor, she's a board member, she's an advisor. She is a parent, a wife, a daughter, a traveler, a lover of all things outside, and a friend. And I am also proud to be able to call you a friend after knowing you for many years, and that was a great bio. So welcome to the Daily Bolster, and I would love to ask you about decision making. As you know, our audience is CEOs and founders. You, in your various roles, have had times in your life where you have had to make 500 decisions a day. I would love to hear your framework for making better decisions.
Nicole Glaros: I think the fascination with decision making really came when I started to get very heavily into investing. And as an investor, the decisions that you make, you don't actually know whether they're good or bad for a decade or more. And so how do you have a proxy for whether or not you're good at decision making? And I also think that there is this tendency to, when we have a good outcome, you attribute it to skill. " I'm really good at this," right? And when there's a bad outcome, you attribute it to bad luck. " Oh, I had really bad luck on that." And it struck me that in investing specifically, but also with executives, that tendency is really inflated. We tend to think really great of ourselves, and we have great outcomes and if there are bad outcomes, we blame it on external factors. And so as an investor and as an executive, you are defined by how good the decisions that you make are. And so this is how I became fascinated. I've done a lot of reading and researching on it.
Matt Blumberg: I would say you're also defined by how well you recover from the bad ones.
Nicole Glaros: Yeah.
Matt Blumberg: Let's talk about how you make them right in the first place and minimize errors.
Nicole Glaros: Yeah. So I think the very first thing... So in prepping for this, I came up with three highlights, three things that you can do to make better decisions. And the very first one is to just not to confuse luck with skill. You have to know that luck is a massive part of every decision that you make, and when you have a bad decision but a good outcome, you tend to think you're good, but you actually are not good. You're actually bad. But if you have a good decision and bad outcome, actually, if you keep making those good decisions, the bad outcomes over time, that's bad luck, will actually net to positive. And so what you're trying to do is really not confused walk with skill, and that's step one. That's actually really hard for people.
Matt Blumberg: It's so important, and people underestimate the role luck plays in success in business, and that is a story for a whole other conversation.
Nicole Glaros: That's right. That's right.
Matt Blumberg: What's number two?
Nicole Glaros: So what you're trying to do is increase your luck. And how do you do that? You do that by actually increasing your ability for your decision- making process. So the second thing is just run a process. Have a process for making the decision, and as you improve your process over time, that will actually increase your luck, which will increase your good outcomes. And so there's a bunch of stuff inside of, okay, what does it look like to make a decision? Or what does a decision- making process look like? And so one of them is first of all, figuring out what type of decision it is. Is it a consequential and irreversible decision? You're going to spend a lot of time making that decision. Is it an inconsequential and reversible decision? You're going to delegate that down to the lowest level in your organization to help improve judgment because you don't care if they get it wrong. They'll learn from it, and there's no consequences. So other things include, how do you identify the root cause? Making sure that you're actually solving for the right thing. This happens a lot in business where we're actually solving problems that are not the root problem at all. They're just symptoms. A lot of people get bogged down in two options. It's either this one or that one. There's a lot of science that shows that if you have three or four options, it actually increases your likelihood for making the correct decision over time. So just pulling yourself out and going, " Okay, we need at least three options to choose from." Making sure that you're actually thinking through second order effects. So if we do this, then this and this and this will happen. If we don't do this, then this and this and this will happen. And so sometimes we're so stuck in just the next step that we don't see three or four steps later. So really pulling yourself out and going, " What are the second order effects?" And then lastly, often in that same process, you're pulling yourself out of the present. And so doing more of that pulling yourself out of the present. What does a pre- mortem look like? If inaudible
Matt Blumberg: I love that. I love that word. Pre-mortem. We use that word pre- mortem a lot, which is great. Why did it go wrong? Why will it have gone wrong if it went wrong?
Nicole Glaros: It's so funny that we don't do that often. As an investor it's kind of easy to do that because you're like, " Well, if it goes wrong, I lose a bunch of money." But when you're making big executive decisions, do we decide to go public? These kinds of decisions are really consequential and irreversible. You want to start to think, " Okay, if it goes wrong, what are all the reasons it's going to go wrong and how do we build scaffolding around those things in advance?"
Matt Blumberg: Right. And I'm going to guess that the pre- mortem is a good segue to your third part of your framework about making better decisions.
Nicole Glaros: Yeah. The third one is just to learn from your decisions. And the only way that you can learn from your decisions is by recording them. We have this beautiful thing called revisionist history where we tend to look back on things and change the story to make ourselves look good. We all do this. It's subconscious. Everyone does it, right? But when you keep a decision journal, when you write down, " Okay, what were my fears about it? What were my concerns? What were my hopes? What was the decision I made, and why?" It's a very light process, but just to keep a journal on the decision and then review the journal over time. That's the key, is to review it over time. Because when you get the outcome, then you can look back and go, " All right, what was the decision that we made and what did we miss? What did we nail? What did we not see?" All of that stuff will help you make better decisions in the future, and that will actually help you increase your decision- making process, which will then increase your luck for having better outcomes.
Matt Blumberg: I love the framework. Nicole Glaros, thank you for joining me.
Nicole Glaros: Thanks so much, Matt.
As investors, executives, or leaders, we’re defined by the choices we make. Today, Matt sits down with Nicole Glaros to discuss her game-changing framework for making better decisions.
Nichole is an entrepreneur, investor, board member, and all-around superstar with plenty of wisdom to share. Tune in to elevate your decision-making skills.