Do you work in a 24/7 environment? Many of my clients tell me that they could avoid being constantly on call if their colleagues were more effective decision makers. According to a Bain & Company survey of almost 800 companies worldwide, this is a common problem. Most people rated their company as less than effective at making decisions. Have you been frustrated by someone who micromanages and slows down the decision-making process? Or by someone with analysis paralysis?
The authors of “The Decision-Driven Organization” in the Harvard Business Review recommend assessing critical decisions to determine whether they are:
- Major decisions like a change in strategy or a capital investment that has significant stand-alone impact
- Minor day-to-day decisions like customer discounts or changes in product specifications that together can lead to success or failure of a pricing strategy
When you have determined which decisions are critical, decide where in the organization those decisions should be made. Some decisions are better made at the field level, others at the regional or corporate level. Many decisions require input from multiple levels.
It is also important to recognize different decision-making styles. Leaders with engineering or other technical backgrounds may prefer a lot of details and need to learn to make decisions without all the information. The ready, fire, aim types need to slow down and consider their options more carefully. These coaching issues come up frequently in my practice and it takes time to change ingrained behaviors.
The Bain study found a strong correlation between decision making and financial performance. It is worth taking the time to assess the decision-making effectiveness of your organization and to address necessary adjustments.
If you or a colleague could be a more effective decision-maker, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.