Analysis Is the Key to Making Good Decisions

November 5, 2009

IStock_000003767147XSmall I recently read a book about General George Custer, famous for being annihilated in Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of Little Bighorn before the turn of the 19th century.  Custer was a somewhat impetuous, but brilliant, officer.  At the age of 23, he was made a Brigadier General in the United States Army and was an important contributor to the Union victory at the Battle of Gettysburg.

He was always anxious to charge forward and get the job done.  Many thought he was impetuous.  When he and his group of soldiers were all killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, there was much speculation about this tragedy.  Since there were no army survivors, we will never know what really happened.  Custer needed to stop and assess the situation and wait for the rest of his army to catch up.  Instead, he rushed into battle and he and his troops were massacred.

It's so very important to get things done but it's also important to understand the field of play.  In business, information is extremely important, and so is analysis.  I don't believe in analysis by paralysis, but the older I get, the more important I believe analysis is the key to making good decisions.  It's important to make decisions, but it's also important not to be too impetuous.  This was certainly reaffirmed to me by the Battle of Little Bighorn and the demise of General Custer and his troops.

I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

Analysis Is the Key to Making Good Decisions

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I believe analysis is critical to sound judgement especially in today's world of increasing variables. Deliberations or simulations on the impact of these variables require analysis. I had a great chat with Michael Sturtz from PACCAR where he shared his experience and expertise on data-mining, and implications of not having a sound ground work for analysis. However, information and direction are only part of the equation; it doesn't matter whether a leader drives the car or pushes it if no one gets in! Leadership, I believe, is the pivotal factor for a successful decision vs a right decision. And your quote of Bob Lutz's speech to his new Marine squadron subordinates exemplifies leadership at it's raw level.

Hi.I am agree with all you in the fact we ought to analyze any desicion before making it,however this doesnt mean we should delay the application of this decision until it too late to do anything,so basicly the most important is to take your time to decide and after act accordingly in the proper time.

Mr Marriott: I recently finished reading "A. Lincoln" by Ronald White. I was motivated to read it as this is the book Obama read as he entered office. I have to say it was as enjoyable and as well written as "American Caeser" by William Manchester. In terms of leadership and strategic thinking, I can see why our President wanted to understand how Mr. Lincoln dealt with the challenges of his times. Enjoy and if possible, please let me know if you liked it as well as I have. Thank you very much. All the Best, Robert Sohn

I do not know if you read these personally or just how much input you have on a day to day basis with the company these days but I was surprised to find that your company only has 3 hotels in all of Brazil. It is a beautiful country.

I wish you had a hotel in Guarapari on the coast in the state of Spirito Do Santo. I will be spending a lot of time there in the near future and it would be great to have a hotal brand that I know and trust to rely on when there.

(I also wish the board would dump Romney as he doesnt represent the kind of diversity Marriott Hotels is known for) - sorry, I had to speak my mind.

I have heard it said this way

"Slow is accurate and accurate is fast.

I try to slow down enough to get it right the first time. So that I do not spend more time, the second time, to fix the first decision.

Maybe Custer's analysis was good but the information he was provided that his analysis was based on was bad.

Isn't there a parallel to financial disasters as well; mortgage back securities, credit default swaps, etc...
The analysis i.e. ratings companies said good investment but the information on which it was based on was faulty, missing, or incomplete.

I think that you are right on several points. First, having information before making a decision allows you to make a better decision. Second, analysis paralysis is nearly as bad.

Analysis is a real key to success.Your analysis should be so strong in order to be successful and get famous.Analysis is a key to make good decisions.A person can make good decisions only when his thinking power and analysis is strong.

Dear Bill,
My husband reads many books about the Civil war and other wars our country has been in. On a trip out west a few years ago we were able to visit the Little Bighorn National Park. I hope you have seen this site!!! Looking out over the terrain in that area, one gets a completely different aspect of the battle.
It has to be seen to appreciate how that battle took place. I hope everyone reading this makes an effort to see our National Parks, Monuments and Historic Sites. No other place in the world more natural beauty than the USA!

I think analysis is crucial to the decision making process in businss. As they say fools rush in. The most successful are those that can analyse quickly and make a decision.

Hi Mr. Marriott I love your blog, it´s wonderful.
Greetings from México!

And the vision and planning to make good decisions might also include alignment with other global energies on the Sister Cities International with 2400 cities...with 500 Marriott Properties in these cities...or the $1.1 Billion dollars spent annually by Rotarians for lunch meetings in those cities and Properties.
Bill, What do you think ??

Mr Marriott this blog on the key to making good decisions is so timely. Thank you for reminding us about important business decisions. With the ever chaning economy it is very important to study anaylsis and history before making tough decisions. Also thanks for reminding us about being impetuous.

Mr. Marriott just today I bragged about you and your inbred philosophy: You take care of your workers and they take care of your customers. Allow me to say that seems to be the echo of the Philadelphia Transit Strike. Maybe they need you at the table. I once shared with you that you must also transfer your experience to individuals like me in the writing of a book. I am even more passionate. Imagine 5,000 workers holding up the book: I Take Care of My Workers and They Take Care of the Customer by Bill Marriott. I think In a Flash that would instantly make the # 1 New York Times Bestseller list. I also love your expression of field play. It is clearly expressed that in this Informational Age the key is Analysis. So you are way ahead of the game. Hence I find my most recent reading: The New Boardroom Leaders: How today's Corporate Boards Are Taking Charge. by Ralph D. Ward even more interesting. Once again thanks for the opportunity you present in sharing you, as you keep Marriott on The Move.

think that you are right on several points. First, having information before making a decision allows you to make a better decision. Second, analysis paralysis is nearly as bad.

This was a good blog because the point could be understood. Understanding the field of play was a good opening for a thought process. Analysis is another word for understanding, therefore if you get a good understanding of what you are doing or faced with, you will make a reasonable analysis of the situation. Thanks Mr. Marriott!

One decision that I would like you to make for Marriott Rewards members is to permit the transfer of points upon the death of the member to the next generation, rather than solely to the surviving spouse. I think that this is very relevant to all of your longtime members.

I think that you are right on several points. First, having information before making a decision allows you to make a better decision. Second, analysis paralysis is nearly as bad. One of my favorite sayings is indecision becomes decision with the passing of time. So, taking a reasonable amount of time to gather information and analyze generally leads to better decisions. The Marriott organization seems to have made some very good decisions: getting into the hotel business in the first place, the Courtyard Brand and Marriott Rewards to name just a few. Keep up the good work!