Decision Effectiveness

What we do

But what does it mean to handle decisions well? Our experience with high-performing organizations suggests that the following guidelines are critical:

  • Decision quality matters–but it's not all that matters. Companies have to make the right decision more often than not. But they also have to make decisions quickly, execute them effectively and avoid spending too much or too little effort in the process.
  • Winners focus on the decisions that matter most. They identify the big, high-value decisions that every organization must make, and they ensure that those decisions work well. But they also understand that small everyday decisions–the kind that are made over and over again, often by people on or near the frontline–can matter as much as the big ones.
  • Companies can "reset" decisions that are sources of trouble. A systematic process of analyzing the what, who, how and when of each troubled decision can put people on the path to good, speedy decision making and execution.
  • The best companies build an integrated organizational system geared to support key decisions. These companies address both the "hard" issues, such as defining decision roles and processes in the corporate center, regional and divisional centers, and operating units, as well as the "soft" ones, such as talent management, leadership behaviors and organizational culture.
  • Lasting impact requires embedding new decision capabilities and behaviors. Companies need to equip people at all levels with the skills and abilities to decide and deliver, day in and day out.

Companies following these principles have improved their decision making and execution substantially, and have the results to show for it. Our book, Decide & Deliver, describes the program in detail.

Our approach

High-quality decision making and strong performance go hand in hand. Yet, in many companies, even clear, well framed decisions can be derailed by uncertainty over roles and responsibilities.

To address this common problem, Bain created RAPID®, a tool to clarify decision accountability. A loose acronym for Input, Recommend, Agree, Decide and Perform, RAPID® assigns owners to the five key roles in any decision.

When the roles involved in decisions are clearly delineated, teams and organizations make the right choices—swiftly and effectively.

RAPID®: Bain’s tool to clarify decision accountability

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RAPID requires practice and discipline. Not every decision merits the level of effort and investment that goes into creating explicit RAPID roles. Successful adopters start with the decisions that they rely on to run their businesses day to day. And, of course, to be effective, RAPID needs support throughout the organization: among its leaders, in its culture and as recognized part of its daily processes.

RAPID® is a registered trademark of Bain & Company, Inc.