Evaluate Quality of Decision Based on Process Not Outcome

Rubin Robert Rubin may not be the world’s most popular man at the moment, but I still admire his decision-making philosophies as outlined in his terrific memoir In an Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Wall Street to Washington. VentureHacks recently quoted from Rubin’s commencement speeches:

“Decisions tend to be judged solely on the results they produce. But I believe the right test should focus heavily on the quality of the decision-making itself…

“Individual decisions can be badly thought through, and yet be successful, or exceedingly well thought through, but be unsuccessful, because the recognized possibility of failure in fact occurs. But over time, more thoughtful decision-making will lead to better overall results, and more thoughtful decision-making can be encouraged by evaluating decisions on how well they were made rather than on outcome…

“It’s not that results don’t matter. They do. But judging solely on results is a serious deterrent to taking the risks that may be necessary to making the right decision. Simply put, the way decisions are evaluated affects the way decisions are made.”

In other words: you can make a good decision and still suffer a bad outcome (roll the dice again) or you can make a bad decision and enjoy the good fortune of a positive outcome (don’t get cocky – improve the process).

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