Dave Girouard has been an executive at Google and shares his experience about fast decision making in this article.
He goes beyound the usual superficial talk and offers some very thoughtful and practical advice. My main take aways and interpretations are:
- You have to practice fast decision making continuously. It is like training a muscle.
- As many problems are wicked (see here), i.e. don’t have an absolute right answer, deciding FAST is more important than WHAT you decide.
- Before deciding you should define how much time and effort this decisions deserves; set yourself a fixed decision time. This, by the way, is an art and needs practice.
- Gather input and perspective beforehand. This will increase the quality of your decision and build a shared context and commitment around it. Most of the people will follow a decision made for them if they have been heard before.
- Ask for due dates, challenge on important items by asking what to do to make execution faster. There is a very nice story from Tim Cook in the article about this habit. But read for yourself.
- Question dependencies
- Solve the big problems first, thereby reducing the cognitive overhead that slows people down. Most important one: what does my boss / senior management / the CEO think? The best way to do that is to get their perspective early on.
- Understand the perpective of others in order to get their support for decisions.