Speed of Decision Making

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. – Theodore Roosevelt


Recently, we’ve had people from two very large companies ask us how to address the painfully slow decision making that is occurring in their organization.  In fact, one was an oil & gas industry giant whose employee surveys from the last 5 years have listed slow decisions as the #1 employee complaint.  There are two issues that drive the speed of a decision: The desire for accuracy and the allowance for risk.

Accuracy (making the best decision)

There is a correlation between speed and accuracy (correctness) of a decision.  While there are exceptions to the rule, experience has taught us that decisions made quickly don’t work out as well as decisions made after taking our time to evaluate options thoroughly.  If you have an inefficient or non-existent process to ensure the accuracy of a decision, the speed of the decision will suffer. This is the problem that the aforementioned oil & gas organization is experiencing.

Allowance for Risk

Likewise, there is a correlation between the allowance for risk and our desire for accuracy in a decision.  The less risk that we perceive is allowed, the more time we will take to ensure our decision is as accurate as possible and the speed of the decision diminishes.  The organizational issues that drive an individual’s perception of allowable risk will ultimately affect the speed of the decisions.  Specifically, the risk-averse culture that one of our clients noted has likewise resulted in very slow decisions in critical areas.

To address the speed of decisions in your organization, you must first understand whether your risk adverse culture or the lack of efficient processes is driving the slow decisions because the treatment is very different.  If you aren’t sure what is causing the slow decisions in your organization or what to do about it give us a call for a free consultation.  We’ll help you analyze your situation and offer recommendations on how to speed up decision making at your organization.

Bad decisions make good stories. – Anonymous


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