The job of startup CEO is all about making decisions. Lots and lots of decisions.
We tend to focus on and remember big decisions — over-emphasizing their importance in the grand scheme of things. But the trick to being a successful startup CEO is mastering the art of micro-decision making.
Micro-decisions are small decisions — the type that we make tens or hundreds of times per day. And startup CEOs have to make more decisions than most people. I often think about how important all those micro-decisions really are, and how the best startup CEOs consistently move the ball forward, inch by inch, through the power and leverage of micro-decisions.
- Micro-decisions are all about delegating. As a startup CEO you can’t do everything yourself, it’s impossible. So you have to delegate effectively and quickly. Remember: indecision kills startups.
- Micro-decisions are about prioritization. Startup CEOs have to prioritize their own tasks and time insanely well, but also prioritize for everyone else too. You have to prioritize on-the-fly, and recognize when something warrants a micro-decision versus more attention.
- Micro-decisions are about getting things done. An unproductive startup CEO will kill the company. Startup CEOs are often the visionaries, but you have to balance that with flat-out, hardcore, getting shit done.
- Micro-decisions are combined to make a difference. You’d be surprised how small decisions can make a big impact. String together a few small decisions and suddenly you’ve had a huge influence on where things are going.
- Micro-decisions can’t be ignored. You can’t ignore small decisions as unimportant. And you can’t delay them either. They have to be quick, pulled together with an overall master plan, and executed on.
Startup CEOs have to make millions of decisions. In large part, their job is to act as the final decision maker on things. That likely includes all the major decisions on vision, product strategy, go-to-market strategy, financing, etc. But just as important are all the micro-decisions that have to be made to keep a business operating and pointing in the right direction. You might think that a startup is all about moving from major milestone to major milestone in a crazy, rollercoaster sort of way (and to some degree that’s true!), but it’s really much more about taking individual steps (often many at once, in parallel), plugging away – decision-by-decision.