Rules and decision making

Crisis exposes weakness. Unfortunately, some decisions are structured in ways that are more prone to failure. Be sure that you're being setup for success.

Decisions can be categorized along three dimensions:

  • Coupling: low to high
  • Link between cause and effect: simple to complex
  • Consequence: low to high

To ensure consistency between decisions, organizations devise rules to minimize coupling and simplify the link between cause and effect of decisions. But, rules aren't always correct, followed, or well-understood.

Culturally, organizations should encourage managers to communicate their intent, so people understand how to behave when they encounter situations that aren't explicitly covered. Because predictability is increasingly important as decisions become more consequential, there's a temptation to make rules to cover every contingency. But, organizations need to be careful not to have too many rules or people will start to ignore them all together.