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 ]

Charles J. Palus

Managers typically spend roughly 80 per cent of their time solving a problem and only 20 per cent actually examining the problem and its context. For situations of high complexity or novelty, another approach is required such that 80 per cent of one’s time is spent exploring the challenge and its context.

Peter F. Drucker

It is a waste of time to worry about what will be acceptable and what the decision maker should or should not say so as not to evoke resistance. (The things one worries about seldom happen, while objections and difficulties no one thought about may suddenly turn out to be almost insurmountable obstacles.) In other words, the decision maker gains nothing by starting out with … [ Read more ]

Peter F. Drucker

Effective executives know when a decision has to be based on principle and when it should be made pragmatically, on the merits of the case. They know the trickiest decision is that between the right and the wrong compromise, and they have learned to tell one from the other. They know that the most time-consuming step in the process is not making the decision but … [ Read more ]

This Matrix Helps Growing Teams Make Great Decisions

Gil Shklarski, CTO at Flatiron Health, has adapted a framework from his executive coach Marcy Swenson to serve as a tool for his team to quickly and efficiently create alignment around decision-making — and at the same time, foster a level of psychological safety that would take fear, self-consciousness and anxiety out of the process.

Untangling Your Organization’s Decision Making

Any organization can improve the speed and quality of its decisions by paying more attention to what it’s deciding.

The Effective Decision

Effective executives do not make a great many decisions. They concentrate on what is important. They try to make the few important decisions on the highest level of conceptual understanding. They try to find the constants in a situation, to think through what is strategic and generic rather than to “solve problems.” They are, therefore, not overly impressed by speed in decision making; rather, they … [ Read more ]

Helen Mayhew, Tamim Saleh, Simon Williams

Just because information may be incomplete, based on conjecture, or notably biased does not mean that it should be treated as “garbage.” Soft information does have value. Sometimes, it may even be essential, especially when people try to “connect the dots” between more exact inputs or make a best guess for the emerging future.

To optimize available information in an intelligent, nuanced way, companies should strive … [ Read more ]

Ken Favaro, Cass R. Sunstein, Reid Hastie

Leaders also have to understand that group decision making falls into two distinct steps, which require different approaches. In the first step — identifying solutions — divergence is necessary. The group has to be encouraged to explore boundaries, search broadly, and expand its thinking in order to find the best options for the problem at hand. But the second step, in which the group selects … [ Read more ]