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Thursday, September 11, 2008

How to make decisions (not for the serious folks)

Question: How can a company ensure that there is a healthy level of disagreement when making a decision?
Answer: The ancient Persians used to make decisions twice–first when they were drunk, then when they were sober. Only if they agreed in both circumstances would they act on the decision. The process worked. The Persians ruled much of world for three centuries.We think companies need to imitate the Persians. As you might imagine, we get a chuckle any time we say this to an audience. People want to retire to the bar to continue the discussion.
What people miss is that most corporations make major decisions in a state that, while not drunk, is certainly emotional. Companies don’t need to have executives pop a few martinis and reconsider their thinking. Executives need to find a thoroughly sober, dispassionate environment in which to give their emotional decisions a second look.

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