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The New Art of Decision Making

C.J. Prince for Chief Executive

January 19, 2022

Excerpts from the Article

CEOs are leading in a time of constant transformation and relentless pressure, facing unending streams of decisions that must be made—at lightning speed, with imperfect information. At the same time, they must manage the risks those decisions pose to their companies and ensure that leaders lower down in the organization are armed with the data needed to take smart risks, avoid wrong decisions and, if necessary, fail quickly.

“You have a whole generation of people who are coming into the firm who haven’t been inculcated in the values of the firm,” said Manny Maceda, worldwide managing partner for Bain & Co. “The first line of defense in risk-taking is decision-making by the leaders. We can put in all the risk management processes—and we do—but often, the frontline decisions, particularly for us as a service industry, require people with a set of values, who have some ability to make tradeoffs.”

That’s because while availability of data can give decision-makers better footing, it can’t replace knowledge born of experience. “That’s part of the issue,” said Ross Buchmueller, group president and CEO of PURE.

"We think about how we use data to inform decision-making, but we also use our experiences. And when [employees] don’t have a lot of experiences, you’ve got to really have a good infrastructure."

Ross Buchmueller, President & CEO of PURE Insurance
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