Wednesday, May 08, 2013

A thought about decision making.

A friend likes the aphorism "if its not important that you make a decision now, its important that you not make a decision now."

I have recently been reading about President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and I think he very much believed in that approach. He had all sorts of ways to put off subordinates who wanted prompt decisions, often waiting until a decision was absolutely necessary before making is. Indeed, he sometimes would then get more information and more opinions and reverse that decision.

An advantage of delaying decisions until they become urgently needed is that the decisions may be better. You may get more information or be able to better analyze the information that you have. The situation may evolve in ways different than you imagined, calling for a different decision.

The problem is that sometimes timeliness is itself a criterion of quality in decision making. Sometimes the outcomes will be better if a decision is made early and people can act accordingly from the start, than if they are made late and there is not enough time left after the decision to do all that needs to be done.

So I would say, "if a decision is not urgently needed, often it is better to delay making it.?

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