Decision Effectiveness

What we do

But what does it mean to handle decisions well? Great organizations make great decisions quickly and execute them effectively. They don't spend too much (or too little) effort in the process. The result: consistently high performance, year in and year out, and motivated employees who feel liberated from decision paralysis.

Based on extensive experience and research, Bain presents the following five-step process for better decision-making:

  1. Score your organization. How good is your organization at making and executing decisions? What are the strengths you can build on to improve your effectiveness? Where are the hang-ups that prevent you from doing better? A rigorous, fact-based assessment will help you understand how your organization supports or inhibits decision effectiveness. More
  2. Focus on key decisions. Identify the big, high-value decisions that every organization must make, and ensure that those decisions work well. But 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. More
  3. Make decisions work. Set individual critical decisions up for success. 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. Companies can "reset" decisions that are sources of trouble. More
  4. Build an organization—one that enables great decision-making and execution throughout. The most successful 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. More
  5. Embed decision capabilities. Lasting impact requires embedding new decision capabilities and behaviors in everyday practice. Companies need to equip people at all levels with the skills and abilities to decide and deliver, day in and day out. More

Companies that master this process 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.