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Decision Quality by Jennifer Meyer, Hannah Winter, Carl Spetzler

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Preface

Poor-quality decisions are endemic in business today. As Paul Nutt remarked in his 2002 book Why Decisions Fail, “Half of the decisions made in organizations fail, making failure far more prevalent than previously thought.”1 Unfortunately, things have not improved dramatically since then. Bad decisions continue to fill headlines and impact organizations around the world. The result is a tremendous amount of lost economic value for companies and shareholders, as well as for the world economy. And business is not the only source of bad decisions. People in organizations of all kinds—government agencies, non-profits, and many more—also make poor choices with costly consequences, as do individuals making personal decisions.

The quality movement, which gained traction in the United States in the 1980s, has measurably helped its adherents to do things right: faster, better, at lower cost. Unfortunately, the philosophy of quality has not extended to decision making. In the executive suites and conference rooms where important decisions are made—where doing the right things is the goal—decision makers are not making the best decisions they can. Few organizations have quality-based processes for tackling big, multimillion-dollar choices, or mechanisms for fending off the human biases and faulty assumptions that result in many decision traps. The result is a great deal of low-quality decisions.

Fortunately, it doesn't have to be that way. Decision skills, processes, and tools ...

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