The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog

Effective Decision Making

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We want to chose the best strategy. However, as the image by Randal Monroe (xkcd comic) shows we need to consider the whole system. It isn’t helpful to spend more effort to chose between two options than the difference between them offers.

However we can be drawn into such behavior by the management system and by our psychology. If you look back at whether the decision you make often amount to a great deal of effort for things that really you would have been just as well off if you just flipped a coin it may point to an opportunity to improve.

Fear and bureaucracy often drive organizations to behaving in ways that are not very useful. People often are pushed into being worried about blame and not being able to justify decisions so they spend a great deal of time justifying choices.

Some times it is important to spend a great deal of time to examine options and explore the best possibilities. But often that is just waste.

By the way time spent reading xkcd is pretty much the opposite of waste – even though your boss might not agree. So you might want to make sure they don’t see you reading xkcd comics all afternoon if they are a boss that wouldn’t understand how this will provide you important new insight into thinking creatively and questioning what you think you know (theory of knowledge).

Related: Effort Without the Right Knowledge and Strategy is Often WastedTrust Your Staff to Make Decisions (within a good management system)Making Better Decisions


Categorised as: systems thinking


One Comment

  1. Kelly Allan says:

    I wish i had such a talent! Great stuff.

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