Summary of Decision Making
5 Steps to Better Results
Copyright 2006 Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation
You can make great management choices if you learn the right decision-making techniques.
Businesspeople make decisions constantly, but few organizations adhere to a clear, rational process designed to prevent significant, costly mistakes. This Harvard Business Essentials manual provides a workable rubric to help leaders bring experts and stakeholders together to minimize the uncertainty inherent in an important decision. It lays out a five-step strategy for building context with a small, diverse team, framing issues, and establishing and assessing alternatives before selecting an option. The steps may seem self-evident, but the book explains that if you use a random, discursive decision-making process, even the setting of the meeting or the way the leader frames the discussion can influence the outcome disproportionately. The book’s illustrative examples of corporate mergers and acquisitions that failed at great cost reinforce the importance of a deliberate process. Decision makers should encourage opposition because failure to challenge even basic assumptions can have grave financial implications. The most common pitfalls relate to the variable of the leader’s approach. Overconfident leaders – or those who present only evidence that reinforces their biases – are the most prone to mistakes that can cost millions. No decision comes with absolute certainty about its long-term ramifications – no one has a crystal ball – but gauging best- and worst-case scenarios can shed a lot of light, if you have the right mix of thinkers for a balanced debate. The guide provides useful ideas for building cohesiveness and consensus among a decision-making team, including ways to analyze complex issues. Seasoned business leaders often have sharpened instincts – but those instincts have a double edge. Keen intuition developed over years in an industry is an advantage day-to-day, but can hamper creativity, thus most managers, pros as well as novices, can benefit from re-evaluating their thought process. getAbstract believes this concise step-by-step guide will help business leaders polish a productive process for making well-reasoned, successful decisions.
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