We all have to make potentially life-changing decisions every now and then: about everything from house moves to career opportunities.

If you’re a business owner, you’re almost certainly faced with even more decisions, about everything from making key hires to taking the business in a new strategic direction.

The thing is, reaching big decisions can be a pretty nerve-wracking process for most of us, largely because we try to base them on everything from cold logic to intuition, rather than just asking ourselves the right fundamental questions, such as: “What is it that really makes me happy?”

Naturally, we have basic principles and a broad framework to underpin our work; but the real key is in learning what is fundamentally important to every individual client we work with, which all starts with asking the right questions.

That means we really don’t do ‘off-the-peg’ solutions at Agnentis, as every business owner has their own idea of what success looks and feels like.

I’m Starting With the Woman In The Mirror

As you might expect, client confidentiality means that I can’t really discuss case histories; and so, with apologies to the late King of Pop, let me tell you how I came to be here at Agnentis.

A year ago I had a pretty successful career in the events industry. The money was good, the business was secure and I felt fully in control, as I knew what I was doing.

That might sound like a recipe for happiness, but in actual fact too many late nights and early starts were beginning to seriously affect my home life, and I had been unhappy at work for quite some time when Raymond approached me with an offer to join him at Agnentis last year.

While I was pleased and flattered by the approach, it was far from being an easy decision, largely because I started by framing the question to myself in the wrong way. Like many people, I began by trying to weigh up the pros and cons of the situation. That meant asking myself questions like: “Is it wise to leave a secure and well-paid job you understand, in order to join a relatively new company in a brand new field?”

The answer to that question, quite obviously, is a resounding ‘no’.

So I discussed things with my husband and family, and their questions were a lot more pertinent; things like: “How important is your work/life balance to you?” And: “Will you be doing what you love for a change?”

I also realised that Raymond had asked me very similar questions, when he had been trying to persuade me that I was capable of making a contribution to the success of Agnentis.

It goes without saying that I was swayed by the fact that my new boss and my family both wanted good things for me. Just as importantly, my decision-making process was the perfect introduction to life at Agnentis.

Good decision? Bad decision? Good question!

A few months into my new career is probably a good time to review what sort of decision I made. As you may have guessed, I couldn’t be happier here.

I’ve gone from a process-driven environment to one that enables me to act intuitively, and where my opinion is constantly sought. I feel that I’m making a real difference here, and even get to use dormant skills like drawing, which has been used to liven up the Agnentis website and social media. Best of all, I get to spend quality time with family and friends and pick up a couple of new hobbies to boot!

Lucky old me, obviously. But it would all have been very different if I had failed to ask myself the right questions before making my decision: a fact that I recall every time we start to work with a new business owner.

That’s because everyone has their own version of what success and happiness means. So every new client relationship starts with us asking the right questions, without ever presuming to know the answers in advance. It’s a little thing called ‘taking the whole person perspective’, and I’m living proof of the fact that it works.