Quicker Decision Making Means its OK to Be Wrong

Fork in the Road 2

“Do you want the chicken or the burger?”
“They both sound good honestly.”

“Should we put the new couch here or there?”
“Well, I like it under the window, but it works next to the TV too.  I don’t know.”

“Should we hire this person now or interview a few more candidates?”
“Hmmm…. me think about that.”
“Too late.  They accepted a quicker offer.”

Indecision. Some of us struggle with it more than others.

Prolonged indecision can mean missing out on hiring the best candidate, losing a big sale, or frustrating employees who need answers.

An indecisive person is often in a state of torment because indecision stems from a fear of making a wrong decision.  We are so afraid to make a wrong decision that we don’t make one at all.

Rely on Instincts and Experience for Quicker Decisions

In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell references the 10,000 Hour Rule which he deems as the amount of time it takes to be considered an expert at a skill. The number 10,000 comes from practicing a skill for 20 hours a week over ten years.

Gladwell’s proposed numbers are interesting because the more we practice a skill over time, the more experience we gain.  Experience leads to confidence which should lead to quicker and better decision-making.  “Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking,” Gladwell states. People can learn to trust their instincts based on experience which usually guides them in the right direction.

Company Culture Should Be Safe Space for Decision Making

A mentor once told me that even if I make a wrong decision, I’ll learn what NOT to do and that can be equally beneficial. He valued action over indecision. He explained that if we’re in neutral, we’re not advancing and becoming better.

A company should foster a culture in which employees feel comfortable making decisions, even if they are sometimes wrong ones. If an employee decides in good faith (researched, based on experience, collaborated on with others), he should not be admonished if it turns out wrong. Being admonished creates a culture of fear where employees become stagnant.

Consider the $10 million dollar education anecdote told by entrepreneur Max J. Pucher  about IBM leader Tom Watson Jr.: “According to it (the anecdote), Tom Watson had called a VP to his office to discuss a failed development project that lost IBM in the range of $10 million. Expecting to be fired, the VP presented his letter of resignation. Tom Watson Jr. just shook his head: ‘You are certainly not leaving after we just gave you a $10 million education.’”  Pucher describes a company culture in which failure is a learning experience.

Three Tips to Make Faster Decisions

On any given day, research suggests that the average person makes 35,000 decisions or roughly 2,000 decisions per hour (Psychology Today).  Little decisions like which shirt to wear may be easy, tougher decisions require some strategies.  Consider applying three strategies from Nick Tasler of Harvard Business Review:

  1. When making decisions, avoid trying to meet the needs of every consideration from every possible stakeholder and instead focus on the bigger overarching objective.
  2. When making decisions, think rationally and analytically about how your options align to the ultimate objective: consider consulting someone who is different from you to get an objective opinion.
  3. Do something: Making that decision means letting go of the other good options “The purpose of a decision is not to find the perfect option. The purpose of a decision is to get you to the next decision” (Nick Tasler, HBR).

Good decision-making isn’t inherent. To have employees who make good decisions, you need to give them the knowledge and resources they need.

From our executive search experiences, the companies that succeed and grow the fastest are the ones that train and empower their staff to make fast, good decisions.

When it comes to hiring, making informed decisions quickly is imperative.  It’s easy to lose top candidates to companies making quicker offers.  Rely on the expertise of Artemis Consultants to help with your recruiting needs.

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