Why It Matters: Making Decisions

Why learn about individual and group decision-making?

an alarm clock next to a mug.Some choices are ordinary—what time to wake up, what to eat for lunch—while some are extraordinary—what (or if) college to attend, what city to live in. People make decisions every day of their lives; just think about how many choices you’ve made just in the last hour. Every action is a choice. Sometimes your choices feel pretty limited—there were most likely contributing factors that led you to read this page (a class, a degree, a job, etc.)—but in the end we always have choice.

So how do you make the best decisions—especially when, like in business, your choices impact others around you (coworkers, employees, customers, board members, etc.)? One of the biggest contributing factors to making a decision is just that—actually making a decision. All too often, especially in large companies, decisions can grind through the process slowly and ineffectually.

As Marcia Blenko, leader of Bain & Company’s Global Organization Practice, wrote,[1]

We found that decision effectiveness and financial results correlated at a 95% confidence level or higher for every country, industry, and company size in our sample. Indeed, the companies in our sample that were most effective at decision making and execution generated average total shareholder returns nearly six percentage points higher than those of other firms.

Their study also found that the typical organization can more than double their decision making capabilities. How successful would the typical organization be if they could actually do that?

Decision making is the key to an organization’s success. So, what does a good decision look like, how is it made, and how can organizations step in to make sure creative solutions are generated by their team members?

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  1. Blenko, Marcia W., Michael Mankins, and Paul Rogers. "The Decision-Driven Organization." Harvard Business Review. June 2010. Accessed April 15, 2019. https://hbr.org/2010/06/the-decision-driven-organization.