Dave Girouard

The art of good decision making requires that you gather input and perspective from your team, and then push toward a final decision in a way that makes it clear that all voices were heard. […] I wouldn’t call it consensus building — you don’t want consensus to hold you hostage — but input from others will help you get to the right decision faster, … [ Read more ]

How Noisy Is Your Company?

In Noise, a professorial supergroup explains the causes and consequences of the inherent variability in professional judgment.

Darren Lee, Mike Pino, Ann Johnston

Many conventional teams are inductive, starting with a theory and looking for data that applies; others are deductive, trying to form hypotheses only after all known data is gathered and analyzed. Abductive reasoning, by contrast, is an iterative process. You start with the data you have and test it, drawing a preliminary hypothesis and continuing to adjust the concept over time. The types of problems … [ Read more ]

A Framework for Leaders Facing Difficult Decisions

Many traditional decision-making tools fall short when it comes to the complex, subjective decisions that today’s leaders face every day. In this piece, the author provides a simple framework to help guide leaders through these difficult decisions. By interrogating the ethics (what is viewed as acceptable in your organization or society), morals (your internal sense of right and wrong), and responsibilities associated with your specific … [ Read more ]

Gokul Rajaram

Consensus means no ownership. What’s important is not that everyone agrees, but that everyone is heard and then the right person makes a decision.

First Round Review

The art of decision-making isn’t always about capturing some elusive “best” decision — it’s about making the most of information available, garnering trust across stakeholders and executing with conviction.

The 6 Decision-Making Frameworks That Help Startup Leaders Tackle Tough Calls

High-stakes decisions are seldom clearly cut. On a team, it’s difficult to get consensus on what the “best” option even means; with an excess of choices, leaders can fall into the paralysis of indecision, wasting precious time and opportunities. How do you make a choice that optimizes for both speed and sagacity? Should you place more weight on data, or go with your gut? How … [ Read more ]

Three Keys to Faster, Better Decisions

Decision makers fed up with slow or subpar results take heart. Three practices can help improve decision making and convince skeptical business leaders that there is life after death by committee.

James Everingham

You can have more decisions than decision-makers, but if you have more decision-makers than decisions, that’s when you run into problems.

James Everingham

When you think of transparency, you usually default to the communication aspect: telling everyone what’s happening or admitting when you’ve made a mistake. But when folks say that things aren’t transparent, what they’re probably getting at is that decision-making isn’t transparent. It’s the feeling that decisions sometimes roll on down from the lofty perch of the leadership team, seemingly out of nowhere. Instead, pull back … [ Read more ]

How To Take the ‘Outside View’

It may be easier than you think to debias your decisions and make better forecasts by building the “outside view.”

Tyler Odean

Cognitive biases create our reality. The best we can do is accommodate and lean into them — we can’t escape them.

How This Head of Engineering Boosted Transparency at Instagram

Not long after James Everingham joined Instagram as the head of engineering, results came back from the employee satisfaction survey that’s conducted every six months. The marks were pretty good, but one problem spot caught Everingham’s eye: the low transparency score.

Transparency is a persistent, thorny problem because we’re not all on the same page about what it even means. To Everingham, transparency was about building … [ Read more ]

Aaron De Smet

What a lot of people who need to carry out decisions want to know are two things in addition to the decision. Why? Because why gives them context. It gives them more clarity on how this connects to other things and what the full set of expectations are about what the decision is supposed to produce and why we made it and what the tradeoffs … [ Read more ]

Walter Frick

To make a good decision, you need to have a sense of two things: how different choices change the likelihood of different outcomes and how desirable each of those outcomes is.

Mike Brown

One of the first things I like to do in a meeting is get clarity on what decision is being made and who has the decision rights. If the answer to either is vague or unclear, you should cancel the meeting and reconvene when you have clarity on these two points. If there’s ambiguity as to who has decision making rights for a particular topic, … [ Read more ]

Kim Scott

Don’t let decisions get pushed up. A lot of times you see decisions get kicked up to the more senior level, and so they get made by people who happen to be sitting around a certain table, not the people who know the facts. Don’t let this happen.

Kim Scott

Somehow people’s egos get invested in making decisions. If they get left out, they feel almost a loss of personhood. So you get ego-based decisions instead of fact-based decisions. The more you push yourself and your managers out of the process, the better your decisions will be.

Thomas Watson

[Andrew Fastow] thinks all management decisions should face one simple question. “If this company were privately owned, and I were leaving this company to my grandchildren, would I make this decision?”

Sally Helgesen

The design of defaults is thus of great importance. And that importance is only magnified by the flawed nature of human decision making. Although lawmakers, economists, and providers of healthcare and social services used to assume that people based decisions on their own rational self-interest, seven decades of behavioral data have demonstrated that this is rarely true. In reality, people are influenced by random factors … [ Read more ]