Poor and lengthy decision making wastes time and can lower productivity significantly. Many leaders already know this and are in the process of shifting their practices within their organizations. Other companies have more entrenched practices and hierarchies that can make a change in this area much harder.
Nevertheless, there are some key characteristics that lead to better and more efficient decision making and we explore what some of these are.
What Does Good Decision Making Look Like?
Decisions throughout the organisation should align with overall corporate strategy and brand values, without the need for several high-level approvals. Employees should be aware of the criteria used to evaluate potential options and their outcomes should have the power and trust to make important calls themselves.
Decisions should have a positive outcome for your business, but good decision making includes several other factors too. For example, it’s important that accountability is allocated to the right people in your organisation to reduce time waste and improve execution quality.
Focus On Decisions that Matter
Decisions can be categorised by type and level of importance. A few examples are as below:
- Debate future options and decide on the next course of action
- Decisions about logistics and delegation tasks to move projects forward
- Approval or urgent activities
- High-level decisions about overall strategy and direction
- Creative decision making involving several activities like discussions and brainstorming
For senior leadership to be involved in all of the above would be inefficient. While management employees should typically focus on game-changing and more wide-scale strategy, other decisions should be delegated to the suitable employee within the relevant section, such as a department head. The clearer all employees are about the organization’s purpose, values and strategy, the greater the potential for effective delegation.
There is a wide range of types of communication using different formats and channels and in many organisations, this grows organically without much central oversight. We believe there is a significant benefit in a more conscious design and development of the communication framework including reconsidering current meeting schedules, timing, duration, attendees and preparation processes. Creating an efficient, effective communication framework can free up employees’ valuable time. You might be surprised how much!
A great deal of effort can be spent preparing for meetings, writing up reports, building presentation decks and summarising talking points, and not actually spent moving the project closer to the finish line.
If a meeting can simply be replaced with a written update, they should be removed to keep workflow running smoothly and people focused on reaching better outcomes. However, if meetings are necessary, make sure attendees are aware of the specific goals that need to be achieved and given the data and information they need before they arrive.
Assign Decision Making Power to the Right People
Decision making is most effective when it is clear who is responsible for finalising a decision and moving towards diligent execution. Involving several members without clarity around who is in charge of reaching the final decision can lead to confusion and friction in some cases.
If you have the right team in place, delegating decision making to frontline employees and other critical roles can be incredibly valuable. This streamlines processes as well as gives employees more autonomy over their work-life, contributing to more satisfaction and positive outcomes.
Having said this, good delegation does not leave people unsupported or pressured to complete stressful tasks alone. People should be empowered with the right tools and knowledge to make their own decisions, rather than simply left alone to deal with things as best they can.
Many organisations fail to do this, even when employees are beyond junior positions, due to the fear that mistakes will be made. However, in the long run, small mistakes that don’t threaten the quality of your final product or service are often necessary for the learning and development process of any individual. Oranisational alignment is the key.
Improving Organisational Decision Making with Strategic Implementation
There can be a temptation to focus attention on ‘what’ needs to be done in the interest of going faster and achieving more. However, for those of you who remember your science at school, you might be familiar with the word ‘velocity’. Most people understand that velocity is something to do with speed but, importantly it also about direction: velocity is defined as ‘speed in a given direction’. Ultimately, you can go as fast as you like but, if you are going in the wrong direction, you are wasting your time and energy. Strategic alignemt is about everybody in the organization being clear about and moving in the same direction. This is why more focus on the ‘Why‘ (Purpose) and ‘How’ (Values) is so important. The ‘Why’ and ‘How’ is also what enages employees at an emotional level as explained so well by Simon Sinek
At SERVICE BRAND GLOBAL, we help both large and small organisations across sectors improve the way they make decisions through adapting work practices and focusing on strategic alignment designed to create lasting, sustainable change.