A senior Partner at Bain, who I used to work with often, maintained that decision-making ability was the best way to assess the long-term potential and effectiveness of an organization.
According to their research, good decision-making boils down to: speed, effort, quality, and yield. The best organizations make decisions that tend to be the right ones (quality), quickly (speed), with relatively low effort, and that they nearly always turn into actions (yield).
The thinking behind this is: you might do everything else well, but if your organization is bad at making decisions, that’s going to hold you back in a fundamental way.
We can apply this thinking across multiple elements of our organizational DNA, and reflect on things like our:
Who we listen to
How well we hire
How well we fire
Quality and number of meetings
How much we are focused internally
How much we are focused externally
Strength and resilience of our external relationships
Each of our organizations is all over the map for this list of attributes—good at some, great at a few, OK at a handful. But, most of the time, one of them is the most important, rate limiting factor for us. One of them is the cultural elephant in the room, the biggest thing weighing us down and sapping the momentum we garner from so much other good work that we do.
As you lay out plans for the coming year, remember: culture eats strategy for breakfast (meaning: the best laid plans will fall flat if our culture doesn’t support them.)
What’s the one thing that, if you could change it, would change everything? And what are you going to do about that?