9Commitment to Action

What one does is what counts and not what one had the intention of doing.

—Pablo Picasso

Achieving 100% quality in the first five links in the decision quality (DQ) chain—frame, alternatives, values, information, and reasoning—creates clarity about the best course of action. At that point, we know what we should do. We have clear intention, but that is not the same as doing it. Without action, the value of the best alternative is nothing more than potential value. Converting potential value into real value requires action.

Two Mindsets: Decision and Action

A decision isn't truly made until resources have been irrevocably allocated to its execution. And so we need a commitment to action and a mental shift from thinking to doing. Thinking and doing are two different mindsets. We all have experienced the shift many times. Deciding to buy a particular house or car is thinking; signing the contract and making that initial payment is doing. Yet, even when what to do is well understood, the shift from thinking to doing doesn't always come easily. If a business decision has the potential for a bad outcome (as nearly all of them do), a leader may hesitate in committing to action. It can even be financially risky for a decision maker to act, since incentives generally reward good outcomes rather than good decisions. Nonetheless, without action, the value potential in a decision cannot be realized.

The difficulty of shifting from thinking to doing was underscored ...

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