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Executives make scores of decisions every day. Cumulatively, organizations make hundreds and thousands of decisions daily. How do you ensure the quality of your decision making measures up to your own high standards?

An earlier post explored how divergent opinions must be considered before the best decision can be reached. But your decision-making process must also be explicit if your decisions are to be efficient and effective—and subject to improvement. Drucker’s philosophy is that a specific decision-making process is essential. In summary, he calls for us to:

  • Make as few decisions as necessary. Many issues, when raised, have already been settled. Don’t waste time rehashing old decisions—unless there is new information or the context has changed. Many things that come up are just exceptions to decisions that have already been made. They don’t require new decisions so much as simple problem solving.
  • Before making a decision, establish what the decision must accomplish—including how it is to be measured and how stakeholders must be aligned for it to succeed.
  • Set aside enough time to make good decisions. Fast decisions are often bad ones.
  • Start with what’s right—not what’s acceptable—and realize many good decisions go against the grain and “The same old way.”
  • Convert decisions into action. No decision is a good decision until it has been fully implemented. Otherwise, it is just an intention.

Organizations large and small are prone to drifting. A small nascent organization is just as likely as a corporate behemoth to “fly by the seat of its pants, or rely on gut feel.” Implement a decision making process and you’re less likely to wake up one day with a mess on your hands wondering, “How did we come up with that?”


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