Decision Making Speed: The 70% Rule for Success

I recently wrote about speaking slow – I wanted a quick course correction here; I think, making decisions on the other hand, you should be quick. In the dynamic and fast-paced world of business, decision-making speed is often as critical as the decisions themselves. Jeff Bezos (formerly posted his quote), the founder of Amazon and a renowned figure in the entrepreneurial world, has a unique approach to decision-making that emphasizes speed and adaptability. He advocates for a principle where most decisions should be made with about 70% of the information you wish you had. This perspective not only sheds light on his success with Amazon but also serves as a guiding philosophy for leaders and managers in various fields.

The 70% Information Rule

Bezos’s rule suggests that waiting for 90% or more information before making a decision is typically a sign of excessive caution. In the rapidly evolving market, such hesitance can be detrimental to growth and opportunity capitalization. The 70% threshold is not arbitrary; it represents a balance between being informed and being nimble. This principle acknowledges that while having all the facts is ideal, it is often impractical in a business environment where conditions change quickly.

The Cost of Being Slow

One of the core tenets of Bezos’s philosophy is the recognition that being slow in decision-making can be more costly than making a wrong decision. In the world of business, opportunities come and go swiftly, and the ability to act promptly is invaluable. The cost of missed opportunities can often outweigh the risks associated with rapid decision-making.

Embracing Errors and Quick Course Correction

A significant aspect of Bezos’s decision-making approach is the acceptance of errors as an integral part of the process. He emphasizes the importance of being adept at quickly recognizing and rectifying bad decisions. This mindset fosters a culture of experimentation and learning, where the fear of failure does not impede progress. The ability to pivot and correct course is crucial, as it reduces the long-term impact of incorrect decisions.

Application Beyond Amazon

While this philosophy has been a cornerstone of Amazon’s ethos, its implications extend beyond just one company or industry. Leaders and managers in various sectors can adopt this approach to enhance their decision-making processes. It encourages a more dynamic and proactive style of leadership, where decisions are made swiftly, and adjustments are made as more information becomes available.


Jeff Bezos’s approach to decision-making underscores the importance of speed and adaptability in the modern business landscape. By advocating for decisions to be made with about 70% of the desired information, he highlights the balance between being informed and being agile. This approach, complemented by an emphasis on recognizing and correcting bad decisions quickly, offers valuable insights for leaders striving to navigate the complexities of today’s business environment. Whether in the tech industry, retail, or any other sector, the principles of rapid decision-making and adaptability remain universally applicable and crucial for success.

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