The Carousel Culture Podcast

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EP006 - Decisions and Choices with Amber Woller

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Amber, so if you had to choose between moose track, ice cream and cookie dough, ice cream, which one are you just right. Not even, you didn't have to think about that. I was presenting you with a difficult choice. Um, Nope. That one's not too hard. Maybe if I had to be presented with.

You know, uh, a scone or a muffin, maybe that would be like, Ooh, which 1:00 AM I in the mood for today? Considerations of like the time of day.

Um, so let's talk about choices a little bit because we make choices all day, every day and even. A lot of the roles at carousel are kind of choosing between different ways of approaching projects, different ways of dealing with customers, um, you know, different strategic planning, things that gets us choices and dishes decisions all day long.

It's exhausting. Yeah. I once heard some statistic, which I don't remember what it was, but like the amount of choices we make every day, it was just staggering. Just, wow. How do we, how's our brain function so well with all that. Yeah. The, uh, I think like the psychological term for it is decision fatigue.

Ooh, that's right. Which is a, a thing I use it with. My wife, because like, there'll be like, after making decisions all day long at work, when she asked me what I want for dinner, my brain melts. Like, it is like, I'm not even capable of deciding, but see, that's so unfair because like I've felt that way. Like I'm like, oh, I don't know what to pre-dinner.

And I'll ask my family and they'd be like, oh, I don't know. I'm like, I've made decisions all day to make this decision by myself. Yeah.

Yeah. So being aware of how many decisions we have to make a day and actually how like draining it is like energy-wise is an interesting conversation because the longer the day goes on, the more you use your brain, um, the more tired you get, right? So sometimes by the end of the day have like a really, um, heavy.

Thinking day, I'm really physically tired for sure. It decisions. Yeah. They do way and some decisions are really simple, really easy. Like, you know, what am I going to eat for lunch today? If I didn't bring something with me and I have to go on the Skyway and find something other decisions are like those heavy, big, you know, like as the owner, you have those big, we're going to kill this carousel sovereign product.

Yeah. We're going to like. Stretch our finances and see how it goes. You know, I have all these employees kind of, I mean, those are big decisions and you know, it's not like what font should we use? Yeah. But I mean, all the decisions we have, there can be multiple. Right answers. And I think that makes it really hard.

Cause if your only choices between something that's good and something bad, well, naturally you want the good decision. But when you have to choose between two good options, that's becomes like, I don't know, which is going to be the best option, right? Yeah. That, that's a really interesting position. Um, the other thing that we ended up doing a lot, uh, especially like.

Okay. As you move up more into like strategic decisions from blocking and tackling decisions, the strategic decisions are often made with not enough information. Like we're asked all, like I have to make decisions all the time on only partial infamous. Because there's so many things that are unknowable.

Yep. And if we were to figure all of that out to like an absolute, it would take way too much time. Right? Like, I mean, even like the cloud pivot was a decision we made with not a whole lot of data. Like we kind of, we understood the new model. We understood probably where we can get to. But there was no way we can make that decision with like absolute clarity, right?

So it was a little bit of a leap of faith. And as you get into these more abstract decisions, the less information you get to rely on. How do you think people who really struggle with making decisions? What kind of advice do you have for them whenever they are faced with not being able to have all that information, because you're working with this other group of people that you're having to inspire them to make a decision.

How do you convince them that? Yeah, this works great. Like a yellow, just the only loved ones. Just go for it. Um, that's not super good advice. There is a little bit of that though. Like, um, you know, being impaired, like you can get paralyzed with making a decision, right? Like, um, do like no action on a decision is also a decision.

You know what I mean? And you've heard that and, um, There's lots of phrases around the idea that like, just deciding anything is better than deciding nothing, right? Like, right, right. Better decisions, right. Or wrong, this taking some action. Um, but I will say I've, I've, I've noticed, um, like there's, there's people on, on the carousel team that are very detailed, we need, and we need the detailed people, right?

Yeah. Um, because that keeps, that keeps the trains running on time. Yeah, absolutely. Um, one of the downsides of being a highly detailed person is you do want to get absolute clarity on all of the information before you make a decision, and that can be super stressful. So, um, one of my pieces of advice would be like, just kind of take your own inventory and stuff.

Am I detailed and do I really like a lot of information before I make a decision and first just recognize it. Um, and, and, and be okay with like who you are, and then maybe just challenge yourself to say like, Hey, um, maybe there's some decisions coming up that, that. Going to try to be more comfortable at not trying to seek out every detail to make the right decision.

I'm just going to guess a little bit more than I normally do. Right? Some people are on the complete opposite side of that and are totally comfortable with almost no detail and guests all the time and sort of like use their gut. Right. I would call out Eric to be in this camp. Right? Eric, Eric makes big strategic decisions.

They're based on his gut. His gut is filled with decades of industry knowledge and all of that. So his guest has, are really, really good. Right. But he's much more comfortable making big decisions without an entire 50 page report about it. He's like. Cool. Let's go. So there's two sides of the coin there, but, um, yeah, getting, I think everyone's probably felt the stress of like, am I gonna make the right decision?

I'm gonna make the wrong decision. Yeah. And then when you make a decision, sometimes it is for sure the right decision that you're saying yes to this, but sometimes it means that there's the cost of saying no to something else. And like, I think about, I have dogs and I have to walk those dogs and I usually walk them after work.

But if I want to go do something after work right away, I'm like, That means the dogs don't get their walk, or I have to be late to this event and it's not, I mean, taking care of the dogs. So I don't have to clean up a mess. Probably a great idea. But you do have to say no, sometimes it's something else and maybe you don't even realize you're saying no to something else, because if you're saying, Hey, we want to add on this new project, which is an amazing prejudice can be great.

But in a way you're saying no to somebody else who had an idea, or you're saying. No, you are going to have more work. You're going to have to take on this burden. And it's a making sure that everybody realizes those things that we have to say no to while we say yes, as, as another thing that can paralyze you or overwhelm you.

And, and w I think we just don't even realize sometimes the things that we say yes to how it creates a no to something else, I guess like an unintended side effect, right? Yeah. We, we have to do this in. And our project in our product management process. Cause we'll have like big lists of features that need to go into the software.

Now I'm saying yes to one ultimately means you're saying no to like 50 others. Yes. Or maybe not immediately. No, but like, no, not right now. Right? Yeah. Um, that's one of those things, never make some of those things on that big list. Never make it in. So you are ultimately. To choose the value of some of these ideas, which is hard to like, it's not, it's not easy to say no, because so many we want to please, everybody.

We want to say we, as people kind of like want to say yes to everything all the time. Yeah. Yeah. Well, it's like if a customer they're like want all their certain deals and special things, well, that may be great to draw in more business for the customer, but on the back end, it creates all these headaches and.

You know, stress for all the people who are managing all the details of that. I mean, so that can create a problem or we can say, no, we're not going to, you know, provide all these things that you are demanding of us. But then, you know, maybe that means we lose their business, which isn't hard choices, what you're saying right there.

And that example is really applicable to like where we are right now with carousel, because. Um, I would say that for a very long time. Um, like our team has been very eager to say yes to like almost everything. Right. Because it feels way better to say yes, the customer happy. Yeah. We have seen that, that does get us into trouble every once in a while being way too accommodating or spending way too much time with a single customer.

Um, but carousel is kind of coming into a season where, um, where hiring a bunch, more people, um, revenues going way up, right. Lots more customers. Um, and everything needs to be. Much more streamlined as far as the process and like the machine that we're building. Right? Yeah. Um, which makes it, so we can't be quite as accommodating to the oddball stuff that comes in that we used to say yes to, which means that the team's going to have to start saying no.

And more than we have in the past, which is hard, which is hard. And that it's just part of. Um, scaling the business saying no is part of scaling the business, but that doesn't make it easy. Oh no. I think that's why we have so many people in society who are those, you know, people pleasers saying yes to everything.

Just because it's so hard to say no. Yeah. They take on way too much because I don't want to say no, I don't want to hurt their feelings or offend them, but sometimes that's not the healthy choice. So Amber is giving all of you full authorization to say no to anybody. Um, quite that. Well, I do, I do think it's, um, I do think it's important for us to get better at, at saying no.

Um, so if anyone needs to practice saying no, they can hit me up on slack. Um, practice saying no out loud. The other thing I think is interesting about, um, just shifting gears for just another minute, um, about saying no, um, or, or making some choices, um, especially to that, like, I don't know which one's going to be the best one here.

I don't want to make the wrong decision, um, is like, who cares if you make the wrong tests? Right. Yeah. Like I feel like, um, and we, we talked about this in the last episode about, um, the expectations of leaders. Right. And so the question I would ask everybody listening is, does JJ expect me to make the right choice?

Right. Now I bet everyone just had an answer in their head. I can tell you my expectation of people making the right choice, but I almost don't care if you make the right choice. Like, um, we are like an innovative company. I always like us pushing the boundaries and seeing where the edges are. And so if we make a wrong choice, that's totally okay.

I am so okay with you guys making the wrong choice as long as. Try it didn't work. And then we go try something different, right? Like let's not stick to the wrong choice too hard, but, um, there's this mantra like, um, fail fast fail often. And I even tell my kids, like if you're not falling, tripping, you know, failing at things, you're not trying hard enough.

So yeah, to me, I'll always making the right choice is to say. I'd rather see us make some choices that aren't, um, aren't the safe choices or aren't the clear slam dunks, because to me it's like a sign that we're actually trying things that are maybe new or uncomfortable. And a lot of times those things work out way better than the safe choice.

Yeah. It's such a challenge to me because. Like the safe thing. And, but then I get disappointed in myself because if I choose the safe route all the time, but chain, you know, trying something and failing, oh, it just feels horrible. But I've been encouraged by a friend of mine to no, see it as like, now you've learned from it.

You're not going to make that same mistake twice. Um, but yeah, that, I love that safe zone, but I've been feeling myself challenged lately, like, okay. Where do I need to go? That's not safe. And can I try this new thing? And it may not go well and that's okay. But internally it just makes me cringe thinking, oh, it might not work out.

Yeah, well, yeah, everyone's going to have, uh, their, their sort of own, their own boundaries of what they think is there's a safe decision and I've noticed that people tend to be way more conservative. Then I expect that I expect here, right? Yeah. So, so go out. Nah, go ahead and break things, try something new today.