Slow down so you can speed upFeb 15, 2023
Decision debt refers to the cost of making short-term decisions that can have long-term consequences. As a leader, it's your responsibility to limit or mitigate decision debt by considering both the short term and long term impacts of those decisions.
Decision debt can be compared to financial debt, like interest accruing on a credit card or loan, where the weight of the interest overtakes the original cost of what you were financing. For example, not proofreading a paper or coding without writing test cases may save time in the immediate term, but can result in even more work later on. As a leader, you can influence decisions and plan ahead to avoid accruing this debt that will eventually come due.
One approach to mitigate decision debt is to slow down giving yourself space to plan and take the time to do things right the first time. Early in your career or education, you may not be aware of potential pitfalls or the importance of certain actions. However, as you gain experience, you can recognize these issues more easily. This approach can help avoid situations where you're constantly behind schedule and resorting to all-nighters to meet deadlines.
As one of my earliest managers wisely asked me, "When will you have a second chance to do it right the first time?"
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