Analysis of 18 months of decisionmaking at a German technology firm

In the book Decisive, by Chip and Dan Heath, they recount a study where a German technology firm kept a detailed track record of decisions they had made over an 18 month period.

The executive board had debated and resolved 83 major decisions during that time.

  • 95% of the decisions involved only two options.
  • 5% of the decisions included three options.
  • There were never more than three options.

When the same executive board ranked those decisions years later:

  • Of the 95% of decisions where their options were binary, just 6% of the outcomes ranked “very good.”
  • Of the 5% of decisions that had three options, 40% were evaluated as having “very good” outcomes.