How to Decide How to Decide

Posted on Posted in General, Meetings

I went to Staples last week to buy a pack of thank you cards. 20 cards cost $20, $1 per thank you?  (My god…I don’t even like these people that much 🙂 ) .

The Wal-Mart across town sold them for less. So I went, bought a pack, saved $4, and felt like a hero.

Until I thought about it: What about the cost of the gas? What about the 45 minutes I lost?

When we have a decision to make, we account for the obvious costs (obviously), but forget about the hidden costs.

In organizations, in order to avoid a costly wrong decision, we call meetings, we gather data, we generate reports.  But how costly is the deciding process itself?

How much time (yours and your colleagues) are you spending? How many resources are you using up? What momentum is being lost? What urgency is being squandered?

No one is asking you to make decisions blindly, without the appropriate evaluation first. That would be absurd.

All I’m saying is ruthlessly evaluate the evaluation. Ruthlessly.


4 thoughts on “How to Decide How to Decide

  1. And, don’t forget to account for other participant’s agendas, overt and covert.

    On a side note, Avery and HP have “free” templates available on their web sites for printing thank-you notes and other interesting stuff. No doubt there are other sites where these are available as well. Beats a trip to the store, if one can use paper, printer and ink already owned. Just an FYI…

  2. Al,

    You bring up very important point.

    It reminds me of all the commercial airlines (in my country) when they advertise cheap flight tickets.

    Sure, the flight ticket may be inexpensive itself, but in my situation it may take even 3 hours to get to the airport. Then there may be other expenses too (gas or other expenses), so … that cheap flight ticket is not be that cheap anymore.


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