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Thanks for taking the time to read our weekly newsletter to help you get Unstuck! Check us out every week for your dose of agile inspiration. We’re striving to keep the content in our 4 Qs brief and powerful so you can get a lot of impact from a little reading!

Quintessential Thought

Has someone else’s decision ever caused you extra time and effort? Whether it was a new process that introduced inefficiencies or a preventable disaster that you’re cleaning up, it’s aggravating to set aside your other work for something that doesn’t seem to cost the decision-maker anything.

In our experience, the larger the organization and the more parties involved, the more this is a pervasive and persistent issue. Why? The larger the gap between the decision-makers and the impact of those decisions, the higher the cost is. The inefficiencies, frustration, and reduced effectiveness can pile up, but the connection between the decisions and their effects are lost in the system. Here are a few examples we’ve seen:

  • Offshoring a company’s internal help desk, where the day-to-day challenges of the decision are felt by those most in need of help

  • A new funding request process that requires 3 levels of management approval for even small purchases

  • Splitting product development and support into separate teams, where the quality decisions made by one affect the other

These decisions aren’t inherently bad; the challenge occurs when the gap between decision-makers and effects results in the costs being hidden and higher than expected. Whether you’re the one affected by others’ decisions or the one deciding, aim to close the gap by aligning the effects of decisions with the costs and benefits. This increases accountability and improves the decisions being made.


“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” – Thomas Sowell

"The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is recklessness." - Brené Brown

"No man chooses wrong because he finds it advantageous to be wrong; he chooses it because he is misled by apparent good." - Marcus Aurelius

Quick Step

Start shifting the decision closer to the people who are affected, bringing both “ends” into conversations about it, making the decision together, or even delegating the decision fully. Explore this further here.


What narratives and data points could you explore that would paint a bigger picture of the effects of a decision? Who is affected that hasn’t been included? Who is deciding that could benefit from the information?

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