First UK Business Decisiveness Report shows one in four decisions made by top-flight
executives is wrong at an average annual cost of over £800,000
The first ever Business Decisiveness Report released today by Capgemini, one
of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services,
reveals the average UK senior executive makes twenty business critical decisions
each year valued at £160,267 each with a self-reported decision ‘failure rate’
The findings, based on a survey of 270 top level executives within Britain’s
largest organisations (1), suggest the annual cost of ‘wrong’ decisions runs at
over £800,000 per head (2).
The financial services sector reports the highest ‘failure rate’ of nearly one
in three decisions being wrong (29%). With an average of 19 business critical
decisions taken each year, this equates to a wrong decision every eight weeks.
By contrast, senior executives in local and central government report one in
four decisions as wrong, or one every 10 weeks. The manufacturing and retail sector
fares best, with a failure rate of 20%, or one in five, a wrong decision every
The pressure on Britain’s top business decision makers has never been greater.
The Business Decisiveness Report (BDR) suggests ninety percent of senior executives
are making more or the same number of business critical decisions compared to
a year ago, four in ten are making decisions faster and a third with greater autonomy.
Across all sectors, eight out of ten senior executives cite organisational decisiveness
as a key factor in the agility of their business, confirming that the ability
to move fast and react to changing environments remains critical to business success.
The average business critical decision takes between two to four weeks, however
a third of decisions are made on longer timescales of five weeks or more.
Typically, internal consultation with between one and five additional people
is rated as the most significant factor in efficient and effective business decision
External advice is highlighted as a factor in more than 50% of critical decisions
made across all sectors.
Opinions on the most effective individual decision making styles reveal a strong
preference for characteristics that support a collaborative decision making approach. The ability to ‘make a call’ quickly and stick by a decision, determination
to seek out the best possible solution and willingness to take risks are the least
popular characteristics. Objectivity, setting clear criteria or standards and
sticking to them and willingness to listen, and take on board the opinions of
others are the top rated decision making qualities.
Bill Cook, Head of Consulting Services, Capgemini UK and Ireland commented, “The
ability to make decisions quickly, efficiently and effectively has always been
at the heart of good business. Today we’re all faced with greater choice, more
competition and less time to consider our options or seek out the right advice.
We hear so much about the negative consequences of ‘choice anxiety’ in our personal
lives that it’s little surprise we find parallels in the corporate world.
“The Business Decisiveness Report contains some fascinating insights into the
complex pressures and factors that affect corporate decision making ability and
the individual decision making styles favoured by today’s most successful organisations.
At the very least we should lay to rest the spectre of inefficient decision-making
by committee. At the highest levels of British Blue Chip businesses, efficient
and effective collaboration is clearly at the very heart of business success.”
– ENDS –
(1) Organisations reporting an annual revenue of more than £200,000,000
(2) Average annual cost of ‘wrong decisions’ per respondent = £814,466
Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of Consulting, Technology and
Outsourcing services, has a unique way of working with its clients, which it calls
the Collaborative Business Experience. Through commitment to mutual success and
the achievement of tangible value, the company helps businesses implement growth
strategies, leverage technology, and thrive through the power of collaboration.
Capgemini employs approximately 55,000 people (as of January 1, 2004) and reported
2003 global revenues of 5.754 billion euros.
More information about individual service lines, offices and research is available