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Fast or Good?

Is it better to make a fast decision or a good decision?

Well what do you think Craig would say? His company is not called Fast Group Decisions!

In this video Craig argues that “fast” is often the enemy of “good;” way too often actually. We get seduced into thinking that we MUST make decision fast but it’s usually a false seduction. Fast decisions are only sometimes good decisions. Craig explains in the video.

And here are a couple related one-page Good Group Tips: Incrementally and Last Minute Decision Making.


Here’s what Craig says in the video

Hey Everybody. Hey it’s Craig Freshley here.

I think that making decisions fast is overrated. We have this idea, quite often, that in order for it to be a good decision we have to do it quickly. We have to decide now or our opportunity will be missed or bad things will happen. But yet I have seen, especially when we’re talking about group decisions, that groups get seduced into thinking that they have to make a fast decision. They do make a fast decision but then that causes unintended negative consequences later. It requires that the decision be revisited or even unraveled and totally redone.

I have seen many situations where, when a group slows down and decides only as much as they absolutely have to, better decisions end up getting made! And there’s actually greater efficiency over the long run.

Let’s think about those situations when we think we have to make a fast decision. Maybe there is impending doom, maybe there is a golden opportunity, maybe we feel like we need to get it settled.

Impending doom. I’m the administrator of a school. I’ve just gotten a phone call that a tornado is coming. I have a quick decision to make. I need to either shelter the kids in place or move them to a safer location. If I don’t make a fast decision really bad things might happen. In this situation it seems pretty critical that a fast decision is also a good decision.

Golden opportunity. “If we don’t do this now, if we don’t decide this quick, the opportunity will evaporate!” Well for one thing, I think that we get tricked into thinking that opportunities are fleeting much more so than they really are. Secondly, the circumstances that resulted in us getting that opportunity are probably not going away and if we say no to this opportunity there’s a good chance that another opportunity will arise. In fact, if we say yes to this opportunity we might be taking ourselves out of the running for an even better opportunity that will come along later. This is really seductive and one reason it’s seductive is because we want to believe in a positive future. We want to believe that it’s a golden opportunity and so in our minds the scales are tipped a little bit. But from an objective logical perspective — golden opportunities that are going to disappear if we don’t act on them right away — those are actually quite rare in my experience.

Third. We just need to get this settled. And this I think is actually the largest contributor to us thinking that we have to make fast decisions. “We’ve been talking about this so long. It’s so frustrating. There are so many things in play. I can’t stand that things are unsettled. Let’s just get this decided.” And when we make a fast decision for that reason, it’s really rare that it’s going to be a good decision.

So I am calling for patience. I am calling for going against human nature!

With impending doom, okay, a fast decision is likely to be a good decision. But with these two [golden opportunity and need to get it settled] what’s really in the way of a good decision is our human nature; to think that we have to be fast.

More times than not, we don’t have to make that decision as fast as it seems like. I am simply asking you to consider: “Do we really have to make that decision fast? Is the opportunity really going to disappear and no other one is going to come up?” Or, “Is it really important that I get it settled just for my own peace of mind?”

I have learned that if I can go to bed at night with lots of of things undone, that actually helps me in the long run. If I, as a participant in the group decision making, can learn to be comfortable with lots of balls in the air — with things undecided for now — that actually makes for better group decisions over the long run.

I’m calling for patience. I’m calling to make a distinction between what we really have to decide fast and what would be better if we decided slow. Our ultimate goal is to make good decisions. Only rarely is a good decision a fast decision.

Thanks for listening everybody. I hope you help your group make good decisions.

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