Painful Lessons Learned in 2019

Written By: Carisa Holmes-Peters


Looking back on the year 2019,  I have decided to get real with my fellow small business owners and leaders out there. Why share my experiences or be vulnerable? Well, If through sharing our story, I can save one fellow leader from the frustration of delayed decision making it would all be worthwhile to me. Seriously!!

Have you ever delayed critical decisions in your business? Can you think of one that plagued you? What was the outcome? Were you better off to delay or do you have the regret of waiting too long to finally make the decision that you most likely knew you needed to do all along?

I am fairly certain that many have encountered this. Now, some delayed decisions can be low on the scale of importance. But what about those decisions that are crucial and can have lasting effects on your company and it’s growth? Have you ever had one of those?

We did…..and we can’t be alone!

Our company is led by a 3 person equal partnership. We typically make final decisions by a 2-1 vote.  The majority of the time this works out just fine for the typical day to day business decisions. However, occasionally there is a line item on the agenda that may be avoided or delayed. Perhaps it is a decision that requires us to put aside all emotional feelings and lead from the left brain only. Does anyone else struggle with that? The topic for my next blog post? Hmmm, maybe. 

We found ourselves amid a difficult decision-making fork in the road. We allowed ourselves to delay this decision and justify the delay for several years. Yes, you heard me right…years!! Talk about painful regret. This is a decision that we knew should be done for the benefit of the company, our clients and our team. However, we allowed ourselves to become paralyzed with emotional indecision. You absolutely cannot put a value on the loss of a delayed decision. The time we lost in the discussion, disagreement, and frustration can never be regained. Delayed decisions most certainly have an adverse effect on your momentum and your energy too!

How did we allow the delay to happen?

We would begin to make excuses or justify what was glaringly an issue. What I learned is that once you soften the hard facts you tend to never see them for what they are again. And this is the reason why you should move swiftly when you are faced with a decision. Make the best decision you can with the facts that you have at that time.

For a company to survive it must evolve, and to evolve leadership must make changes and keep an eye on where you need to go next. When you are stuck in a place of indecision you are hindering other critical decisions that must be made to keep you moving forward. 

So what did we learn?

Now while this decision was not a crippling decision to our business or our clients, I believe we in effect lost at least two years in the Bermuda Triangle that we would not get back. 

The good news in all this? There has to be a bright side. The good part is we were given a valuable reminder to make decisions swiftly and not allow them to take more time than they need to in our leadership meetings. 

My advice to others…

Do you have decisions like this in your company? Perhaps it is about how you need to reinvent your company? Maybe it is implementing change within and you fear the backlash because it’s the way it has always been done? Maybe you are hanging on to team members that would be better for all involved if they were no longer on your team? Whatever the decision, if there is one that you or your leadership team are avoiding please consider these helpful tips:


  1. Very clearly state each of the issues that need to be addressed within your company or organization and what the preferred timeline of a conclusion is for each?
  2. Document the supporting facts for each issue, make a list of the pros and cons of delaying a decision. What is at stake?
  3. Capture all the potential solutions and begin to add pros and cons to each solution.
  4.  Ultimately make the best decision you can at that time, with the facts you have. In the end, perfection in decision making is a myth. There is no perfect answer.


SUPER TIP √ To make the decision making process more structured we utilize a system from the book Traction – Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman.

There is also an online tool called Traction Tools. This has been a game-changer for our leadership meetings and decision-making structure.


“Not making a decision is actually a decision. It’s the decision to stay the same.”  Lysa Terkeurst

I would love to hear your story of a decision-making lesson. By sharing, we help others along the journey. As 2019 comes to a close, Brian, Kevin and I would like to wish you a peaceful holiday and extend our heartfelt thanks to our loyal clients who have been on this 45-year journey with us. We will continue to build trustworthy relationships with our clients and continually look out for your best interest. Wishing you many blessings in 2020!

Carisa Holmes-Peters is a second generation partner at Holmes, a full-service marketing agency, in Springfield, Ohio. Holmes specializes in equipping businesses to be the hero of their own stories. We believe in authentic human connection and collaboration. Ready to have a true partner for your company’s marketing efforts? Contact us today!