HBR Article: What makes strategic decisions different

HBR Article: What makes strategic decisions different

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August 23, 2016
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Chances are you've seen plenty of headlines in your news feed proclaiming to offer tips on the best way to make decisions. Maybe you've even clicked on a few of them, thinking it wouldn't hurt to arm yourself with some new decision-making strategies. After reviewing some of those articles though, you were probably left thinking something like: "Well, that advice is fine and dandy for basic decisions, but I've got a department to run and money to make for my company, that's amateur advice. Where's the beef?"

Author Phil Rosenzweig brings the beef in his Harvard Business Review article, "What Makes Strategic Decisions Different." Rosenzweig, a professor of strategy and international business at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland, says many business executives look past the wealth of decision-making research that's out there simply because they feel it doesn't apply to the types of decisions they must make.

The most important and most difficult decisions business executives make are strategic and have consequences for the performance of the company, and Rosenzweig says these decisions call for a different approach not often addressed in decision-making research. There's a difference, Rosenzweig says, in deciding which breakfast cereal to chose and whether to launch a new product or acquire another company. So why would those types of decisions be treated the same?

In the article, Rosenzweig argues that "before we can advise people on how to make better strategic decisions, we need to equip them to recognize how decisions differ. For that, we need to break the universe of decisions into a few categories. We can then suggest the best approach for each."

Learn more about the four categories of decisions and how to approach those that fall into the toughest category in Rosenzweig's HBR article.


As community manager for The Enterprisers Project, Ginny Hamilton helps build the site's community of CIOs, IT leaders, and readers. She is responsible for helping tell the stories of leading IT executives – showcasing the projects, experiences, and challenges they're facing in their roles as IT leaders.

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