According to a University of North Carolina cross-industry study cited by HBR in their Stop the Meeting Madness article, 71% of senior leaders said that meetings are unproductive and inefficient.
In addition to this, they said that meetings:
- Keep them from completing their required work (65%)
- Come at the expense of deep thinking (64%)
- Miss opportunities to bring the team closer together (62%)
My Poll Results
According to some recent research, an adult makes about 35,000 “remotely” conscious decisions per day. These decisions can be as trivial as deciding between fruit loops or cheerios for breakfast but they can also be as impactful as deciding on the direction for a business merger, acquisition, spinoff or restructuring.
Being responsible for making 35,000 decisions each day can be overwhelming! How can you possibly hammer through these and be assured that you are making the best possible decisions?
“Never underestimate the human capacity for stupidity when operating in groups.” Colonel T.X. Hammes quote from Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Means for the World
Have you ever done something stupid as part of a group?
I think we have all fallen victim to stupid “group think” decisions. Everyone in the group gets caught up in the excitement of the moment and something that sounded like a great idea at the time turns out to be a really horrendous idea.
In 1966, Alfred E. Kahn wrote an essay entitled “The Tyranny of Small Decisions.” Khan was an economist and his essay was predominately focused on economics. However, the concept defined in the essay applies to each of us and can profoundly impact business and business leaders.
So what is the tyranny of small decisions? In a nutshell, it is what results when a person, group of people, business or organization make a number of small decisions over a period of time. These decisions are not bad decisions on their own but, taken together over a period of time, the result of the decisions are diametrically opposite from the outcome desired.
For instance, take the super busy executive running his business day to day without a clear set of values or a defined vision, mission and goals. This person is going to make decisions each day that seem correct and make sense at that moment but the sum of these decisions could add up to a disaster over the long term. Without the long term view of the business and a proper focus on what is to be achieved, the executive will make “firefighting” decisions that may take care of the issues at hand but destroy the business overall.