Hi Jack, great question. Allow me to expound…
Oftentimes in product environments, design decisions are dictated by stakeholders (e.g. C-suite, board members, investors, ‘cash cow’ clients, etc). These stakeholders are likely far removed from users of the product.
While stakeholders have valuable knowledge around the business, they often lack insight into the users’ goals. Consequently, their ‘design decisions’ often skew towards meeting business goals. A common phrase in a design-immature company may sound like, “We are designing this feature because ‘so-and-s0' in the C-suite asked for it.”
Ideal design decisions satisfy both business AND user goals. Additionally, they are based on both qualitative and quantitative research. These data points can then be used to confidently drive a design forward.
Therefore, bending to stakeholder’s design demands without aligning properly to user goals, is, undoubtedly, bad design.