Why Fortune 500 CEOs Think Quick And Don’t Look Back

By Glenn Stearns
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Why Fortune 500 CEOs Think Quick And Don’t Look Back

An open letter from Glenn Stearns, CEO of Kind Lending

It might just be my opinion, but I think that your decision to open up this article and give it a read was a pretty good one. And I’m betting it didn’t take you too long to make said decision.

There are of course people out there that scrolled away and never gave this article a chance, and contrary to what you might be thinking, I believe that was just as valid and smart a choice.


Because whether you’re here or whether you’re not, your next five minutes of screen time were determined by a snap decision. An off-the-cuff call that most likely took you less than 30 seconds to make.

YES — NO… It doesn’t matter.

What matters is you figured it out FAST, and moved on to face the consequences of that action.

Here are the consequences for the people who said NO to this article:

They may never find out that faster decisions have been scientifically proven to be of higher quality. They won’t then be able to form the natural conclusion that those who take long hours and days pondering a tough call are not only wasting their valuable time, but are also jeopardizing the very quality of the decision they’re trying so hard to make.

I’ve been in the game for many more years than I’d care to mention here, so you should just trust me when I say that the most critical part of my job as a CEO is my decision making ability. You should also trust me when I say that because of those many years of personal experience fighting fires and going through the pain, that the most critical part of decision making is timing.

Think quick. Make a choice. Jump into action.


At this point, you might be questioning this approach. Isn’t it better to think through your decisions to the point where all possible risk is eliminated? Well I’ve got news for you, pal. Risk is essential to progress, and no matter what you do, it’s never eliminated, only mitigated.

So consider this:

The decision to read on could change the trajectory of your business forever, and for the better.

And I have the research to prove it.

The Research

According to a global survey from McKinsey & Company back in 2019, only 37% of respondents believed that the company they worked for made decisions of both high quality and high speed.

That same survey went on to prove that no matter what country the results were recorded in, it was internationally indisputable that the organizations that made decisions quickly were TWICE as likely to make decisions of high quality in comparison to organizations that were labelled as ‘slow decision makers’.

I don’t have to tell you that in this day and age, we live our lives in a fast-paced world — so I believe it’s absolutely CRITICAL that you foster a decision making ability that’s fast to match.

Here’s a quick question:

What do you think it takes to get into the esteemed ranks of the Fortune 500?

Luck? Talent? Daddy Warbucks backing you up?

Well maybe the last one (in some cases), but there’s one universal factor that’s at play with each and every one of these top dogs. These titans of industry.

Can you guess what it is?

Decision making. The best and boldest of all Fortune 500 CEOs think quick — settle on a hard call — and are already moving on to the next one by the time the last is put into action.

Remember good old McKinsey and their global survey? Well, they also ran a little math experiment using the stacks of data they’d pulled up on Fortune 500 companies — with the end goal of putting the decision making ability of those companies to the test.

The results they came back with did not paint a pretty picture.

If you take the universal statistic that less than 50% of workers around the world believe that their organization makes decisions in a timely manner (based on the results of McKinsey’s 2019 global survey), then the math all points to the same conclusion.

A typical Fortune 500 company is capable of flushing 530,000 days of their managers’ time down the drain every year.

And what does that look like in hard dollars and cents?

Oh, only about 250 MILLION DOLLARS in wasted wages a year.

I don’t know about you, but that statistic sends a chill down my spine.

The Alternative

McKinsey & Company have hit us with some pretty hard facts so far. But not everything they turned up in their 2019 review was all doom and gloom.

Far from it. In fact — there’s an alternative.

And all it takes is some quick thinking.

Of the many companies surveyed around the globe, only a handful were recorded as being consistently successful decision makers, thus labeled ‘winners’.

I like that title. I like it, because I aspire to be a winner myself. And you should too.

So what are the qualities of these so-called winners? Simple.

They “make good decisions fast, execute them quickly, and see higher growth rates and overall returns from their decisions,” according to McKinsey and co. By comparison, the non-winners of

the study-group didn’t have it quite so good.

Companies that ummed and ahhed over their venture-critical decisions for months or more saw their growth stagnate, while their competitors (and the winners!) overtook them and left their furrowed brows in the dust.

All this to say one thing:

If you want to win, you have to train your brain to make decisions faster than your competition.

This isn’t to say that you should be stumbling headlong into decisions based on a coin-toss, your mood that day, or the color of the tie your cubicle-mate wore last Tuesday. That’s a recipe for disaster, and a great way to tank your career in record time.

What I AM saying is that I, Glenn Stearns, am living proof that making decisions quickly can send your career skyrocketing to the clouds and above. Build the same habit, and you’ll foster trust with your team, establish clear results for your clients, and find your way to better practices and profits you dreamed of.

Blockbuster Video stalled on its decision to expand into internet streaming, and Netflix toppled them in three quarters. Blackberry didn’t adapt to the market fast enough, and Apple swallowed them whole.

If you want to be a winner, stay a step ahead. Think quick, execute…

And do it all over again.

Signing off,