Leadership Nudge® 336 – How to Structure Work for Better Decisions

January 6, 2021by Sandy Wilmer

Organizations are biased towards continuing whatever action they are doing. Leaders want to inject moments of thinking and decision into this continuous stream of action. This makes it safe to change the course if needed.


Organizations are biased towards continuing whatever action that they’re doing. The reason for this is because we’ve made the decision in the past. And so now our ego is attached to that decision, or at least to the activities that support that decision, and so we just want to continue that. The other thing is, once we get everything set to go, it’s so much trouble to think about it and decide to do something else.  

The problem is we’re going to miss opportunities that say, “hey, the markets changed and our product is no longer relevant.” What leaders want to do is inject moments of thinking and decision into this continuous stream of action.  

So we say, “Oh, look, there’s an exit ramp, we cannot launch the space shuttle.”  

The problem, again, is that this is viewed as an exit ramp. Instead of seeing both things for their merit, (“don’t launch” or “continue”) the idea that we’re going to continue with the launch, again, is biased.  

What you really want to do is structure the decision-making discussion in a way that both options are equally advantageous.  

Continue the product. Stop the product.  

Launch a shuttle. Don’t launch the shuttle.  

And when you do this, you’re going to get less biased, less emotional, more accurate, better decisions than if you don’t. This is the play of complete. We get the work done. We emotionally detach from the past, even though it was our own work, and then we dispassionately look at how we’re going to go forward. I’m David Marquet. That’s your Leadership Nudge. 

Sandy Wilmer

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