Issue 139 - 04 | Closing the Decision Quality Gap

By Carl Spetzler, Hannah Winter, Jennifer Meyer
Published March 16, 2016 11:00 a.m.
“One of the virtues of DQ is that it allows us to know if we’ve made a good decision at the time we are making it. If we’ve correctly followed the process, we can confidently state that ‘We made the best possible choice given our alternatives, the available information, future uncertainties, and the things we can control.’ That’s contrary to conventional thinking, which confuses a good decision with a good outcome. Most will say, ‘We cannot know how good a decision is until we’ve seen the results.” That makes no sense in a world of uncertainty and unforeseeable events that decision makers cannot control. A good decision, for example, might be undermined by poor implementation. Or events on the far side of the world may foil a decision maker’s best-made plans. The reverse is also true: a poor-quality decision may have a good outcome thanks to good luck. Imagine someone driving home after too many drinks. Does the fact that he arrived home without causing an accident make his decision to get behind the wheel a good one? Of course not!

All decisions are about the future, but decision makers must act in the present, which is why it’s so important to know if we are making a good decision when we are making it. And that is possible when we fulfill the requirements of decision quality.”

About Carl Spetzler, Hannah Winter, Jennifer Meyer | Carl Spetzler is the cofounder, chairman, and CEO of Strategic Decisions Group (SDG), a leading strategy consulting firm renowned for its expertise in strategic decision-making for value creation.

Hannah Winter is a partner and educator with SDG where she leads the firm’s 10-year education partnership with Stanford.

Jennifer Meyer leads client engagements at SDG that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in added value through better strategic decisions.
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