Managers need guidance to make better decisions.

Managers at all levels struggle with decisions. And, get this, research on managers across the country continues to validate this.

The decision making ability comes down to knowing how and having a culture that supports it.

Did you know that …

  1. 98% of managers fail to apply best practices in decision making.  Forbes.
  2. 82% of managers have no ability to hold others accountable.  Partners in Leadership.
  3. Decision making effectiveness is 95% correlated with financial performance. Bain Research. 
  4. A good decision framework can “drive 75% better decisions, 2x faster, with 1/2 the meetings and 20% better performance.” Forbes. Erik Larson. HBR. 

Managers need to know how to make better decisions and need the cultural structure around them to execute successfully.

Knowing how to make decisions

It relies on training. First, managers need training so they know the process of decisions. Then they need practice. Lastly, they need mentoring and coaching to build the skills.

What exactly is involved in a good decision?

That depends on the goals of the company. It depends on its metrics, culture, and guidelines for decisions.


A good set of decision metrics comes from Bain Research.

Measure what you manage.
  1. Quality:  Choose right course of action.
  2. Speed:  How quickly do you make a decision?
  3. Yield:  How often do you execute decision as intended?
  4. Effort:  Do you put the right amount of effort into making and executing on a decision.

In addition, making a decision rarely affects only one person. Collaboration, accountability, communication, cooperation all come into play.

A culture to support better decisions

What exactly does culture have to do with making better decisions?

The best, most practical, to-the-point definition of culture is “the way we do things around here.” 

  • How we correct each other when mistakes are made. 
  • How we congratulate each other on successes.
  • Boundaries we just do not cross. 
  • How we disagree and come to agreements. 
  • How we communicate informally and formally. 
  • The degree of openness we accept.

To clarify, it becomes important a culture includes a management team that walks the talk. A management team that lives and breaths the decision making culture.

5 guidelines to make better decisions

Here a few quick guidelines:

  1. Consistency is crucial. Intent must match actions and must match results. So, if intent is in place and action appears to match but results don’t happen, then something is broken. It’s time to fix it.
  2. Code of behavior. This code guides the consistency.  The code helps prioritize behaviors, actions, each decision. 
  3. Communicate goals.  Goals must be clearly stated and assigned. Specific, measurable and attainable. 
  4. Roles clearly defined.  Ambiguity in roles will crush decision making. Saving the day, micromanaging blur the lines of responsibility and push the role back on the person saving the day. 
  5. Decision Framework.  A clean decision framework guides the manager through the most difficult decisions. It guides them through everyday ones. 

Now, put these into place and start making better decisions.

Need help making better decisions with your teams and emerging leaders?

Contact Phil Bride today. 503-753-9971 or

A conversation is easy and there is no obligation.