Power Point: Make good decisions quickly

November 21, 2008, 3:58 AM UTC

“If we do not correctly diagnose the causes, and instead act in haste to implement more rather than better regulations, we can do long-term harm.”

— U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson in a speech in Simi Valley, California today. The question of how to make the best decisions is weighing on everyone these days – particularly on Paulson and Barack Obama. Is it better to act with a sense of urgency or take time for thoughtful deliberation?

Obama is under pressure to assemble the right team to respond to the crises awaiting his arrival at the White House. Today he reportedly picked Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to head the Department of Homeland Security (and we also got news that Penny Pritzker, whom we’ve talked about on Postcards, has withdrawn from consideration for Commerce Secretary).

While Paulson argues for the “take your time” approach (especially as it pertains to imposing heavy regulations), today’s Wall Street Journal notes that a Conference Board survey of top executives shows increasing emphasis on “speed, flexibility, adaptability to change.” In October, 47% of 190 executuves surveyed ranked these as being “of greatest concern,” vs. just 25% in July. A year ago, the Conference Board’s survey showed revenue growth, profit growth and finding qualified management talent to be among the most pressing concerns. How times change. — Jessica Shambora

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