FEATURE4 September 2013

Fixed decisions

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Senior leaders get bogged down in problem solving when their focus should be on exploring opportunities, says ad man David Wethey. Interview by Brian Tarran.


Why is decision-making in business so difficult? David Wethey thinks he knows. It’s partly down to a lack of process and an over-reliance on logic at the expense of gut-feel. But personality also comes into play.

As chairman of Agency Assessments, Wethey has spent the past 25 years helping advertisers make decisions about which ad agencies to work with. As such, he’s spent a lot of time in board rooms watching teams of decision-makers try (and sometimes fail) to reach consensus. “I just became completely absorbed in understanding how some teams work really well together, how some teams are largely dysfunctional, and how apparently similar people could approach the whole question of choice in dramatically different ways.”

That experience has led Wethey to write a book on the subject, Decide: Better Ways of Making Better Decisions. You’ll find it on Amazon, alongside 7, 000 other books about decision-making in business – which speaks volumes about just how difficult people ...