Corporate Decisiveness
by Tom FitzGerald

Profits and performance are a direct function of Corporate Decisiveness.

As part of our corporate renewal/turnaround work, we commonly measure some 100 corporate attributes that cause, affect, underlie and predict the performance of companies. These are Leading Performance Drivers.

Of these, one attribute stands out above all others as having the greatest effect on success and profitability. And this attribute is a key component of most of the others, directly influencing traits such as Assertiveness, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Morale, Psychological Age, indirectly affecting factors like Quality, Recruitment, Training, Vision, Zeal. In fact, it is at the root and origin of an entire alphabet of performance drivers.

It is CORPORATE DECISIVENESS. This attribute has itself a number of components. The four most obvious ones are:

  • Speed
  • Importance
  • Commitment
  • Rightness 


  • Speed, refers to the time it takes to make a decision and begin execution; 
  • Importance, to the nature of that decided upon;
  • Commitment, to the emotional commitment made to carry out decisions to completion;
  • Rightness, to the correctness of the decisions. 

Of these, it is the first three that are truly significant; rightness is rarely a problem.

When we measure the components of Corporate Decisiveness we find that there is a direct, positive relationship between speed, importance, commitment and the performance and profitability of companies. Faster decisions are related to increased performance. The more important the decisions made, the more profitable the company. The greater the commitment to implementation, the greater the overall success.

World class companies consistently score high in Corporate Decisiveness. Troubled companies score consistently low. When we find profitable companies with low Corporate Decisiveness scores, we know that trouble, in one form or another, is brewing. When we enable low performing companies to increase their corporate decisiveness, increased performance follows. Often immediately. 

However, Corporate Decisiveness does not refer to the decisiveness of the CEO as an individual, though such individual decisiveness does have positive effects. Nor does it refer to the decisiveness of individual managers, though that has positive effects too. 

Corporate Decisiveness refers to the decisiveness of the organization, expressed by and through its management team. It means that the management team, as a team, acting as the company, on behalf of the company, makes rapid decisions on the important issues and commits viscerally to their achievement. And then carries them out.

When a company is small, the decisiveness of the CEO can be that of the company. But as it grows, that is no longer enough. Beyond a certain size, no matter how decisive the CEO is, unless the management team as a team is making these decisions (and making these commitments) a strong positive relationships with performance does not show. 

To use a sports analogy Individual decisiveness is akin to the technical ability of an individual player. Corporate Decisiveness is akin to the competence of the team. And a powerfully functioning team of average players will beat a poorly functioning team, even if it has great athletes.

Increasing Corporate Decisiveness is the surest way to higher profits and improved performance. Of all corporate improvement programs, it is the fastest and most reliable, it has the lowest cost (virtually free) and it delivers the greatest bottom-line results. A significant increase brings at least a first year increase in profits of 10%.

So how do you increase Corporate Decisiveness?

The process is extraordinarily simple, requiring only the commitment of the CEO. We created the process over ten years ago out of our experience with over two hundred organizations. It has been proven time after time on the bottom lines and in the competitiveness of companies you know. 

The process begins with management's assessment of the decisiveness of the company. Here is a sample questionnaire that addresses the corporate decisiveness attribute. It is not an employee questionnaire. It is designed for CEOs and senior managers. If you are a CEO or managing officer, we would be happy to process and evaluate your team's responses to this questionnaire. There is no charge. 

Corporate Decisiveness

Put your response (1,2,3,4,5) in box on right.

1 = NO!!    2 = NO!    3 = NEUTRAL    4 = YES!    5 = YES!!

1 We are slow to innovate.  
2 Our company is reactive rather than proactive.  
3 When in doubt we say "NO".  
4 Entrepreneurship is NOT encouraged.  
5 There is little real commitment to the level of change that is needed.   
6 We respond slowly to changes in the marketplace.  
7 Decisions are made too slowly.  
8 Our pace of change is too slow.  
9 Our managers are resistant to change.  
10 Consensus does NOT come easily or quickly.  
11 Our need for consensus gets in the way of needed decisions.  
12 We are NOT good at resolving conflicts.  
13 Decisions are made but not carried out.  
14 We are slow to implement decisions.  
15 Missed deadlines are tolerated.  
16 We have lots of goals but few action steps.  
17 Decisions are first heard on the grape vine.  
18 Management is not held accountable for results.  
19 There has been very little real follow up to plans.  
20 We often do not finish what we start.  
21 Meetings seldom produce action.  

Copyright  1999 -  FitzGerald Associates
PO Box 27, Lake Forest, IL 60045   847-295-2309

Tom FitzGerald is a bottom-line oriented, consulting management engineer, who specializes in effecting major improvements in profitability, performance and growth. He
has worked with CEOs and COOs of more than 200 organizations in the US, Canada and Europe, ranging in size from start-up to Fortune Five Hundred.  By education, a physicist.  By birth, Irish.  By instinct and experience, a business catalyst.  Contact FitzGerald Associates here:

Index of articles in The CEO Refresher by Tom FitzGerald | Many more articles on Creative Leadership, Executive Performance and Performance Improvement in
The CEO Refresher Archives


Copyright 2000 by Tom FitzGerald. All rights reserved.

Current Issue - Archives - CEO Links - News - Conferences - Recommended Reading