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Decisions decisions

There are good decisions, there are bad decisions and then there is the worst decision of all: No decision.

Earlier this summer I attended a lecture with Dr Khaled Soufani at the Judge Business School and during that lecture he made a comparison between British and US Tech companies and the fact that the latter were far more innovative and likely to succeed than the former.

He put this down to one key difference which after living and working in the UK for the last 5 years I wholeheartedly agree with: “The ability to make decisions”.

US companies, he argued, make decisions, they keep making decisions, good or bad. By comparison, the equivalent company in the UK is seen as indecisive or exceedingly slow to make decisions.

While this is a generalisation, not really intended to be a realistic US/UK business culture comparison and I’m sure not really the case across the board, it is a good straw man about the problems of effective decision making (or lack of it)

As a leader and manager, I impress this point on my team again and again:

Gather as much information as possible, collaborate and debate as much as is feasible but ultimately make decisions as quickly as you can with the least cost in terms of time and resources.

Clever people, with a bit of input from other clever people and a clear context, will usually make the right decision and if they don’t we can easily cope with wrong decisions made quickly because they can be quickly changed.

If, on the other hand, you procrastinate and make no decisions it’s impossible to deliver on our remit.