Brain food: It just might work - Deciding moment

Brain food: It just might work - Deciding moment - How - and how fast - do you decide on whether or not to give your subordinates' ideas the green light? In Jack Welch's beloved three-day 'Work-Out' sessions, when teams of GE workers present their proposa

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

How - and how fast - do you decide on whether or not to give your subordinates' ideas the green light? In Jack Welch's beloved three-day 'Work-Out' sessions, when teams of GE workers present their proposals (maybe 100-plus), the boss must decide at once. He or she has only three choices: Yes, No, or I need more information - but, even then, the decision can be postponed for only a month. Does delay improve your decision-making? If not, decide fast. Another CEO boasts of how he takes five minutes to decide on some proposal that has been worked on downstairs for months. If the subordinate appears confident, the boss says Yes. Diffidence means No. The catch, as linguistic expert Deborah Tannen notes, is that you may misread confidence or its opposite, so the Work-Out way looks the better of the two methods. Four-fifths of proposals are approved.

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