Okay, I'm sort of reaching here, but over at the Bain & Co. blog -- and yes, there is one, but it's for the consultancy, not the private equity outfit -- they offer some advice for companies (and, I suppose, for campaigns) on how to avoid making bad decisions. They identify three key areas.
First, "stale operating procedures:"
A utility company learned that its forecasts of daily demand were often off the mark. So it began tracking the percentage of forecasting decisions that, with hindsight, turned out to be right. The process helped the executives responsible for forecasting see where their procedures were strong and what could help improve them.
Could have used that attitude with the polling operation at Romney HQ.
Second, too many meetings:
A semiconductor company, for instance, tracked its R&D forums—groups charged with developing new products—to determine the number of decisions each forum made, the number of decisions it delayed, and the number it revisited over a given time period. The company also tracked the frequency of escalation to a decision maker higher up in the organization. The data helped people learn to increase decision speed, cut back on reconsiderations and reduce escalations.
Not sure if the Romney campaign had too many meetings, but they certainly had a sluggish September.
And third, living in a bubble:
Companies can assess individuals’ decision-making skills in their regular performance evaluations. They can also track the behaviors that are central to effective decision making and execution, such as people’s willingness to engage in open and constructive debate or their willingness to commit to a decision even when they disagree with it. Several companies link executives’ bonuses to a range of decision metrics, including overall quality, speed, yield and effort. The measurements and incentives encourage individuals to develop their own decision skills and to build organizations that make and execute decisions well.
Okay, like all consultant-speak, this stuff is pretty obvious. But on a purely strategic level -- and I'm not talking principles or policy -- the Republican operation needs to rethink everything.