The Harvard Business Review published a blog last week titled, “Nine Habits That Lead to Terrible Decisions.” The authors conducted a study to determine the factors that contribute to poor decisions. After analyzing data from 50,000 leaders, they found nine factors that can contribute to a bad decision.

Their analysis compared leaders who were “perceived to be making poor decisions” with leaders who were “perceived to be making very good decisions.” The list below is prioritized in order, starting with the most significant factor:

1) Laziness – regardless of the “perception versus reality” factor, these leaders were perceived to be sloppy in their work and unwilling to work hard.

2) Not anticipating unexpected events – it’s critical to develop a list of the problems that may arise from your decision.

3) Indecisiveness – when analysis takes too long, decisions get delayed and opportunities are missed; some leaders believe that a single mistake will ruin their careers, and as a result, they avoid prudent risk-taking.

4) Remaining locked in the past – it’s important to be innovative, and that requires looking for new approaches to solving problems.

5) Having no strategic alignment – every key decision must be part of an overarching strategy.

6) Over-dependence – if collaborative decision making gets bogged down, then act independently.

7) Isolation – it’s critical to collect input from experts, which requires good networking skills.

8) Lack of technical depth – complexity is increasing, and the best executives develop deep expertise, and they know how to find the right talent to help them.

9) Failure to communicate – sometimes good decisions lead to bad results merely due to poor communication about the decision itself, including why the decision was made and how it benefits the organization.

By keeping these factors in mind, you can improve your approach to executive decision making. To learn more, visit the Harvard Business Review blog here:

Author: Jim WiederholdJim believes his 39 years of experience--particularly his more than 26 years in healthcare--has prepared him well for what he does. His wealth of experience spans key areas, including finance, operations, management, leadership, sales and sales management, corporate, contingency, contractual and retained recruiting, outplacement and transition work and executive coaching.