Founder’s Toolbox: Decision Making Framework

June 28, 2020

Staying true to our commitment to share our Oceans OS for founders and their team members to use, we’re excited to announce the next tool in the system: the Decision Making Framework. The Decision Making Framework is used to help guide and support decisions made by more than one person, since decision making with two or more people is hard. It is critical to get multiple PoVs when approaching a situation. The problem is that once multiple people are involved, it gets harder to rationally and consistently make decisions, so it is important to have a structured and repeatable process to help ensure you make the best choice every time, and eventually learn from the process. 

Most successful decision-making approaches boil down to a simple checklist. But it’s important to note that understanding the items in the list is not enough; this checklist must be used to be effective, since our biases don’t go away just because we know they are there.

What does the data say?

2% of companies/managers regularly apply best practices when making decisions, and few companies have systems in place to measure and improve decision making over time. Given all we know today, why is this still the case? Well because…

  • History: more art than science due to lack of tools and data. The theory that people make rational decisions when given good info has been proven wrong.
  • Psychology: people are irrational.  Bias and groupthink come into play. Making decisions is hard – so the instinct is to rely on what you know and emotionally you just want to move on.
  • Technology: many manager tasks are now being automated. A better foundation is there but it’s incomplete. Providing more complex info doesn’t help. You can’t just implement tech and analytics.

Included in this framework is evidence and data that supports why decision making resources are so crucial. When you make decisions using some structured best practices, 90% of time you meet your expectations and 40% of the time you exceed them. But what’s the value of this framework for a founder? And how do teams benefit?

What are the benefits?

As a founder – this structured format ensures that you are approaching decisions in a rational and consistent manner. Other benefits include:

  • Reinforces alignment with company goals
  • Identifies and explores blind spots so decisions are not made in a vacuum
  • Allows you and your team to constantly learn and improve your decision making
  • Reassures that having a well defined process helps others get involved and influences your decision making abilities 
  • Inhibits “groupthink” since decisions are approached from multiple perspectives, evaluated and reflected on
  • Implements a consistent and repeatable process that allows for analysis and reflection, and ideally showcases improvement and lessons learned over time

As a team – this framework promotes a culture of reflection, assessment and improvement. More benefits include…

  • Decisions are made in a consistent manner
  • Team members appreciate that accountability, consistency, data, reflection and iteration are important and expected when decision making
  • Multiple perspectives are expected and welcomed. This helps to ensure multiple PoVs are captured
  • Bias is limited and buy-in is increased 
  • Multiple team members are anticipated to participate, which acts as a forcing function to ensure others do indeed weigh in and participate in the process

To learn more about the value of instilling a group decision making process, check out the framework linked above.

For an editable version, reach out to us here, and as always, feedback and comments are welcome!