Is faster always better? Clearly not when it comes to making tough decisions. Certainly there are times, (e.g. emergency situations) when there is a need for speed. But too often people assume a quick decision is always desirable. In fact, a growing body of research tends to show that the opposite is true.
In Great by Choice, Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen assessed decision-making situations that were associated with poor and good outcomes. Of the “poor outcome” situations, 97% were a result of time-driven, reactive decision-making. Conversely, in those situations with “good outcomes”, a deliberate approach was used 63% of the time (and a reactive approach 37%). So, while it is possible to reach good conclusions with a reactive approach –the odds are much higher that you won’t.
There are many complicated reasons we may rush to judgment – only one of which is that the situation actually demands it. In complex situations, we tend to over-rely on “gut feel” – and be overly confident in it. When we think a problem or situation is familiar, we are less likely to examine it as much as we may need to. We tend to jump to conclusions or rush to judgment.
When faced with a tough decision-making situation, let’s remember the wisdom of Collins and Hansen – “fast if you must, slow if you can.”
Three ways to slow it down:
- Ask yourself if a quick decision is really needed
- Resist the temptation to jump to conclusions
- Gather and analyze relevant information