Implement rapid decision-making to increase your company’s agility
Markets are evolving, globalizing and digitizing at an increasingly rapid pace.
But companies often miss these opportunities, take too long to move from idea to reality, or fail to react to threats due to slow or ineffective decision-making.
Faced with complex structures and processes, consensus management and too many non-strategic subjects to oversee, leaders lack concentration and spend too much time making decisions.
Decision-making speed is nowadays essential to carry out transformations and engage its managers and employees.
Actions can help managers to recognize decision-making problems and increase agility in your company.
Identify critical points and prioritize improvements
The first step is to better understand the dynamics within the company and to know at which level the problem lies: strategy, governance or the mobilization of management and employees.
Symptoms can be identified from the results of decisions taken or by very targeted actions that reveal them.
The so-called “organisational stress tests” method, similar to what is practised in the banking sector, makes it possible to obtain a convincing result to reveal valuable information.
It is a matter of moving the organization to a “windmill” of more or less
“stressful” scenarios in order to extract in a shorter period of time than planned interview hours to be set in the schedules of managers, managers and collaborators often in charge.
The observations established following “organizational stress tests” facilitate the prioritization of actions in order to increase agility in decision-making.
Identify, support and encourage internal decision-makers
The most important element in improving decision-making is to ensure that the right people are mandated to make the decisions.
The human dimension is certainly complex to assess, but it cannot be neglected.
When defining an organization, the company must pay particular attention to the competency profile of the people it designates as “decision-makers”. The latter must be structured for effective coordination, empathy and courage in difficult situations.
This reflection on the organisation must also be accompanied by the setting up of a tightened team of one to three people to support the manager in the same way as a crisis unit.
Its purpose is to ensure that various aspects of sometimes complex decision-making are taken into account and to compensate for certain decision biases with which it may be confronted, such as habitual or anchor or confirmation bias.
Integrate flexibility into the process and decision support
Work teams of five or more people, meetings without objectives or clear next steps are signs that governance needs to be reviewed.
To support decision-making, experts in the relevant fields may be invited to provide specific information, as appropriate. Such an approach ensures that there are factual contributions and that the decision can even be “challenged”.
In addition, it is essential within the company to promote a culture of openness, in which all participants challenge each other and honest discussions take place openly.
Ensure the introduction of tools to standardize decision-making
It is not a question of embarking on the search for the “miracle” tool, but on the contrary of looking among a standard set of tools and models at those that are likely to facilitate decision-making and avoid confusion.
For example, by defining two models to track your investment portfolio, it has become easier to track progress and intervene. One could concern development and its progress in relation to the timetable, objectives and budget. The second emphasizes the importance of the investment in relation to the company’s strategy.
Such a simple implementation has made it possible to make more efficient investment decisions and reduce the time spent by contributors collecting the required data.
Simplification in this case has made it possible to make more efficient investment decisions and reduce the time spent by contributors collecting the required data.
Laying the foundations for agility
The first concrete step to increase agility in decision-making is to define a standard process and models to be used consistently to make a specific type of decision.
Once the process has been documented, “organisational stress tests” allow it to be “turned” and improved before being deployed.
The second step is to align incentive models, managerial responsibilities and the development of intrapreneurship with business strategy and to continue to improve the process and tools based on experience.
Before artificial intelligence has a significant impact on the speed and quality of decisions, the few concrete actions described above will provide a solid foundation for increasing agility and optimizing practices.
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Wolf, Robert (2012) How to minimize your biases when making decisions; Harvard Business Review
Csaszar, Felipe A, Enrione, Alfredo (2015) When consensus hurts the company; MIT Sloan Management
Review Marc Le Menestrel (2018) The Key to Cultivating Agility in Decision Making; insead
Alexandre Dubois (2018) Increasing agility in decision-making to improve competitiveness; reddal