Dr. Sheena Iyengar, an internationally recognized expert in the science of “Choices” was a featured speaker during the 2012 “Leadercast Conference” sponsored by Chick-Fil-A. Dr. Iyengar provided a very practical and compelling presentation to help today’s leaders recognize the vital importance of properly making decisions and choices.
A very thought-provoking concept provided by Dr. Iyengar described the result of a recent study of multiple corporate CEOs and how they make decisions and choices. The study concluded that over 50% of decisions or choices made by corporate CEOs are made in nine (9) minutes or less. Only 10% of the CEOs’ decisions received at least an hour of their attention.
This statistic sounds amazing, but it matches this author’s personal observations from having worked very closely with CEOs of three corporations ranging in size from $4 billion to $29 billion in revenue. The statistic is very believable, and understanding its implications on decision making and communication within a corporation is imperative for an organization’s success.
CEOs must fulfill roles and responsibilities that are influential both internally and externally to a corporation. Their lives are hectic and they are continuously exposed to diverse, ambiguous, biased, and over-filtered incoming communication . . . much of which is framed to the CEO with the desire that he or she make a consequential decision or choice.
When we couple this less-than-ideal communication with the fact that the CEO normally can only spend very few minutes on each decision, the inevitable conclusion is that we cannot count upon the CEO to be the person who makes the best choices or decisions.
Good companies must ensure that decisions are made at the organizational level that maximizes the effectiveness of each decision. This organizational level is the one that has the best overall combination of accurate information, ability and perspective to make good decisions, and time available to consider and assess all viable alternatives.
- Are decisions being made by the right people in your organization? Are you sure?
- Are you blindly assuming that the quality of a decision correlates positively with how high in the organization the decision is made?
Use this wakeup call to start fresh and objectively assess your organization’s decision making culture. You may be surprised to learn that the wrong people are making many important decisions that affect your company’s success. Fix this problem, and a whole new world of positive opportunity and employee engagement will await you.
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