Blog - Strategy

Why Decisions Fail: – #6 It’s Viewed as an Event vs a Process

Posted by Tim Lewko on Feb 25, 2014 11:39:00 AM
Why Decisions Fail
If decision making was an event we’d all spend less hours at the office.  As leaders we would simply walk into a meeting, make a quick phone call or send a short email spelling out our decree and Voila! – we would move on to the next challenge.  But the real challenge and pragmatic learning for you and the organization you manage is to ensure decisions are viewed as  a process not an event.  Why is that?


1. Speed: Processes are repeatable and recognizing the process you currently use for decision making brings clarity to the factors and information you need (and don’t need)to include in your decision.  This saves time.

2. Transportable: Processes can be shared, made visible and used in other locations or situations.   For example, the decision making process managing directors should use to evaluate strategic growth options are no different in Brazil or Argentina than they are for Europe or the Middle East.( the content that flows through the decision is different but the process is not!)  And having a decision making process that you can share is invaluable to getting the best from and developing your people to make high performance choices.

3. Simplifying - Processes are a set of steps to meet a goal. Situations we find ourselves in that require a “hard decision” to be made need to be stripped down to the fundamental factors that matter. More often than not and because of the vast amounts of data available, the global nature of business, and the pressure to perform now! – we find executives overcomplicate the true nature of the decision.  By using a process or roadmap – you enable yourself and those involved in the decision making process to take bit sized pieces, gather the right information, involve the right people – all of which raise your decision making batting average.

Take the Test


The acid test to convincing yourself that the benefit of viewing decision making as a process vs. event – is simple.  At the start of your next meeting – one that involves making a decision – ask those sitting in the meeting ” What common process or method are we using today to make this decision”? – I guarantee that most of those in the meeting will have prepared themselves more for advocacy of their pet alternative versus inquiry as to the best way forward for your company.

As a leader – by spelling out the process for the decision is a requirement for better decisions at every level in your organization.  High performance is a discipline making discipline.