Trust me, the refrigerator light does go off.


I know a number of supply chain leaders who manage great cost and productivity improvement campaigns, based on precise data-driven reconnaissance, but they are not someone who steps forward assertively when it is time to take on a role of the decisive leader who studies fast and decides fast. Frankly, as supply chain leaders we are often actively called on to be decisive, to make decisions quickly and confidently – it is a proficiency we are generally expected to possess. To some this skill comes naturally, but for others it feels to them like opening the refrigerator door abruptly but the little light just doesn’t come on right away. If you believe that great decisive leaders are born and not made, think again… There are definitely tactics that we can manage that will help our decision making speed and confidence improve, as well as maneuvers that will slow that refrigerator door light to the point that we will catch a chill while waiting in the darkness.

The light seems to speed up when you can quickly “apply to the COWS for a decision.” Nimbly list your Criteria and Options… apply Weight to the criteria, then Score the options, and pick the better result.

The light slows down when: you set the threshold for accuracy too high, you allow yourself too many choices, or your perception of risk is too high for impromptu decisions.

When the light is off and the door is closed your unattended-to blind spots will ultimately slow your response time simply because you have set yourself traps by: not communicating strategic direction to your likely collaborators or your team, not being clear about priorities, or if you have poorly communicated expectations to your team. But the real trap to slow you down is if you have delayed intervening and allowed poor performance for too long.

One more thought… I know it is counter-intuitive but if you only have two hours to cut fire wood, sharpen your axe for the first hour.

  • Take a deep breath and consider the future impact this decision could have.
  • Even though the clock is ticking always take the time to gather as much data as you can.
  • Allow some time to give credence to your instincts as well as your logic.


As always, until next we meet, I appreciate all you do to fill the hands that heal, and may the fridge shine it’s light immediately and brightly upon all your decisive moments!



Please visit my OutSideIn blog for a discussion on situational awareness.

Stop by the N=5 Supply Chain Blog to participate in a discussion on great energy management initiatives.




Timothy Hagler is an experienced supply chain leader, with an ever-accelerating interest in earnestly connecting stakeholders with creative ideas to meet new economic realities for healthcare providers. Tim has enjoyed an excellent track record of achievement and advancement earned through demonstrated contribution to bottom-line results, employing strong solutions architecture, analytic and financial skills in challenging, multi-client environments. Tim and his lovely wife Kandy enjoy spending time at the beach in South Carolina. Tim’s hobbies include photography, American folk music, and writing about himself in the third person.


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