Closing the Decision Quality Gap

Carl Spetzler, Hannah Winter, Jennifer Meyer

March 16, 2016

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"One of the virtues of DQ is that it allows us to know if we've made a good decision at the time we are making it. If we've correctly followed the process, we can confidently state that 'We made the best possible choice given our alternatives, the available information, future uncertainties, and the things we can control.' That's contrary to conventional thinking, which confuses a good decision with a good outcome. Most will say, 'We cannot know how good a decision is until we've seen the results." That makes no sense in a world of uncertainty and unforeseeable events that decision makers cannot control. A good decision, for example, might be undermined by poor implementation. Or events on the far side of the world may foil a decision maker's best-made plans. The reverse is also true: a poor-quality decision may have a good outcome thanks to good luck. Imagine someone driving home after too many drinks. Does the fact that he arrived home without causing an accident make his decision to get behind the wheel a good one? Of course not! All decisions are about the future, but decision makers must act in the present, which is why it's so important to know if we are making a good decision when we are making it. And that is possible when we fulfill the requirements of decision quality."

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