Cover art for Leadership Caffeine PodcastDecisions are the lifeblood of organizations. Nothing happens without a decision. Yet, judging by the news headlines from the past decade, allegedly smart people and name-brand organizations can make some truly miserable decisions.

The importance of looking at decision-making as an organizational capability that can be exercised and improved upon was underscored in an empirical study by Blenko, Mankins and Rogers, published in the Harvard Business Review (The Decision Driven Organization, fee), suggesting a strong correlation between decision-making effectiveness and financial results. The study went on to suggest that the typical organization may be able to improve decision-making effectiveness by at least 50%. If they are right, that’s a big pile of decision-making opportunity left out on the corporate table.

Run a literature search on decision-making, and you’ll find a broad range of content, much of it focused on the cognitive issues and traps surrounding the process, and the balance focused on the disasters so widely dissected in our culture. For a fresh and refreshing view on decision-making, enter Tom Davenport and Brook Manville with their book, Judgment Calls-12 Stories of Big Decisions and the Teams that Got Them Right.


By design, the authors eschew bullet lists, “How To” narratives and neuroscience lectures so commonly found in this field, and instead, focus on these positive stories and the approaches the various teams took to go from big challenge to effective decision. Instead of serving up their own form of framework for the process of decisions, the authors let the stories and approaches emerge, commingle and ultimately, educate. Refreshing, instructive and memorable!

Enjoy this podcast…Brook is a fascinating guest.  And enjoy the book. It’s a great addition to your management library.

For more information on our podcast guest, Brook Manville, visit his website. Brook and his co-author, Tom Davenport, both blog for

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Art Petty is a Chicago-based management consultant focusing on strategy and leadership development. Art regularly speaks on innovation in management and leadership, and his work is reflected in two books, including the recent, Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development. (download a free excerpt at Art’s facebook page.)

Art publishes regularly at The Management Excellence blog at

Prior to his solo career, Art spent 20+ years leading marketing sales and business units in systems and software organizations around the globe. You can follow Art on twitter: @artpetty and he can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]