Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions?

We have seen and probably even experienced this first hand many times. We make certain decisions thinking that they will yield good results. We might have analyzed all the options available, rechecked all the data points and probably taken feedback from your peers and some experts. But still, in the end the result might have been very different than what we have expected. This might at times make you think whether you can be a good manager and whether you can trust yourself to make decisions in future.

Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions and How to Keep it From Happening to You

Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions and How to Keep it From Happening to You

We are seeing many reputed organizations making bee line to either file for bankruptcy. There is a Good Leader (s) who made a Bad Decision behind all these. Another reason I think that is leading us down this drain is greed. 

Here’s an excerpt from a WSJ interview of Mr. Sydney Finkelstein author of “Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions and How to Keep it From Happening to You“,  titled “Why Good Managers Make Bad Decisions?” by Mr. Erin White on Wall Street Journal Online.


A few interesting reasons for making bad decisions:

  • Leaders make decisions based on their past experiences, which is not always the right decision. 
  • We act out of self-interest most of the times, but we may not know it as this happens at the subconscious level
  • We sometimes make pre-judgements and fail to read signals to the contrary, which will seem obvious later
  • Attachment to People, Places and Things will make leaders take decisions that are biased

What is the remedy?

  • Recognize that we are biased in one way or the other and enter the decision making process by recognizing this and try to identify and avoid these
  • Avoid the “Yes Man” trap, which means, build a team with individuals that question and not just people who would support your decision, despite it’s lack of objectivity

Reading the book probably would throw more light on some real life examples and remedies.  My Reading List is growing pretty fast. I need a life time to read all these. I guess I will read these excerpts and blog about them a bit to internalize some these ideas.


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About Venu Mallarapu

I am currently working as Director & Global Client Partner at Cognizant Technology Services in their Life Sciences division. I have over 19 years of experience in developing IT Solutions and Services, specifically for Life Sciences industry for over 13 years. I have worked with small to large pharma customers to address their business needs across R&D, Sales and Marketing and Manufacturing & Supply Chain areas. My passion is Pharma R&D. I blog and write about varied topics in Pharma Industry as well as latest Technology trends that impact Clinical Research and have also presented at various conferences and workshops on wide variety of related topics.

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