A decision crashes to earth shortly after execution.
Shredded, mangled and smouldering plans and assumptions, and splintered egos lie strewn across the impact area, that is soon roped off with yellow and black tape marked with 'MISTAKE: DO NOT CROSS.'
Expectations - customers, clients, staff, connecting decision-makers - wait in vain to greet the decision at its scheduled outcome, then demand answers as to What Went Wrong and Who To Blame.
Connecting decisions are delayed across the decision making network, each spreading its own ripples of disruption.
Similar models of decisions are postponed or cancelled for fear that they share a fatal defect.
News of the failure affirms the procrastinators, cynics and equivocators' Fear of Trying. They celebrate by smugly busying themselves drafting agenda items for another meeting to discuss meeting formats.
A naive inquirer ducks under the 'MISTAKE' tape and picks her way past the debris of opinions, conjecture, conspiracies, myths, recriminations, and folklore scattered for as far as rumour and fear can exaggerate.
She's searching for the Decision Making Black Box.
Good decision making is a deliberate process of inquiry that advances you towards where you want to be.
The Process of Inquiry - the Five Steps to a Good Decision - is the 'Black Box' Data Flight Recorder equivalent in decision making.
In the aftermath of a decision, the decision maker can review each of the Five Steps that led to the decision, identify any element that may have contributed to the decision not having the expected outcome, and learn from it.
Did Step 1 allow enough time for the decision maker to purge herself of emotions that may have contaminated her decision?
Did Step 3 gather, verify and inquire into enough relevant information?
Did Step 5 identify all the people who might be affected by the decision and allow them to be heard on what the decision should be?
If the decision maker has the Five Steps she can review and learn from about why the decision didn't achieve the outcome she hoped for, then that knowledge can be applied to the next decision to make it more effective.
If, on the other hand, the decision is made like 45% of decisions are - by gut instinct or positional power, then there is no process of inquiry - no 'black box' - to learn from.
It should be routine for decision makers to review the decision making process to find out what can be learned from them and done differently next time, even when the decision did achieve the intended outcome.
It's Good Decision Making - a process that can reviewed and improved, and therefore advance us towards where we want to be.