“Why don’t we wait.” Those words my father, Ed Winter, uttered time and time again when his employees made requests or suggestions. These words were much like the “We’ll see” that I got time and time again when I was growing up. When I was younger, I didn’t understand them. When I was working for my father, I didn’t understand them. Now that he is not here and Jason and I are running things, I completely understand them. I am, in fact, grateful for them. “Why don’t we wait” may be the most valuable phrase that a business owner can say, or just think when contemplating a decision. There is nothing like a little time to make sure that you have considered all sides of a decision. What are the risks? Rewards? What is the goal? What impact might this decision have on our clients, employees, ourselves?
Waiting on making a decision allows many things to take place. You give yourself time to digest the information and to really figure out how it might feel. A lot of times people talk about a gut reaction to things. This is helpful, but I have found that the gut reaction is just a jumping-off point for the rest of the decision-making process. You have your gut, and you can most likely trust it, but you do well to take that gut feeling and build off of it.
Taking on this practice of waiting allows decision-makers or business owners not to feel overwhelmed with big decisions, or even little ones. As a decision-maker or business owner, you are likely bombarded with questions from your employees many times per day. Requests for new software, new equipment, raises, vacations, new pens, a new toaster, 2-ply toilet paper instead of 1-ply, etc. etc. You are asked to make little decisions and big decisions almost daily. So what could happen if you have just made little decisions about a new toaster from Target and you have decided to go with two-ply toilet paper because it is on sale this week…then you get to the office and your sales person asks for a new software to track his activity? You might think…well, I just picked up the toaster and toilet paper, no problem, so…go for it! Get the software! It is important to take the time to think to yourself and actually say…”Why don’t we wait until I have a minute to talk with you about this”. You have just done two things: You have acknowledged your employee has something valuable to talk about and you have given yourself room to breathe and made your stand as the decision-maker.
My dad was so comfortable with saying those words, it almost seemed like a generic response in some cases. But I know now it was genuine on his part. My dad thought about how each situation and each decision would impact numerous people and that showed that he was a very thoughtful man who desired to keep considering others. I am so grateful to have had his example in business and most importantly, life.
Edward J. Winter, Jr. 3/9/1943 – 2/24/2009