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Death By Committee

The San Antonio Spurs are celebrating their 50th anniversary this season. You don’t need to be an NBA fan to acknowledge that 50 years in business is quite an accomplishment.

Even more interesting is their logo, which has been the same for those 50 years, was solicited, pitched, designed, and approved in 4 days.

Today, I’m not sure if we could agree on the font size to be used on the logo RFP (request for proposal) in four days.

I would argue that death by committee rears its head for several reasons:

  • We overvalue the weight of the decision we are making
  • We attempt to remove responsibility for a potentially wrong decision
  • We want others to feel included, even at the risk of scuttling the entire project
  • We have not committed our own time to consider what we would do
  • We are indecisive and want someone else to make the choice for us

Many decisions are, in fact, lightweight. They have very little reprocusions if we get it wrong. Most are, as Jeff Bezos has said, “two-way doors.” We can walk back through them just as easily as we walked through them the first time.

  • We can sell it
  • We can change it
  • We can delete it
  • We can change our mind
  • We can stop buying it
  • We can adjust it
  • We can take it back
  • We can part it out
  • We can learn from it

The leaders of the Spurs likely knew choosing the logo was a lightweight, two-way door decision. Professional teams change their logos often. Little equity is lost.

I think death by committee – ultimate inaction – is worse than making the wrong decision.

All the best,


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