How to Speed Up Decision Making
Today’s world is changing fast, and so should businesses if they want to succeed. Most understand this, and there are plenty of guides on how to speed up operations, transportation, logistics, and other such aspects. However, there is one field where most businesses – especially larger ones – still perform as inefficiently as fifty years ago. We mean, of course, the decision making process.
Why it’s that much of an issue
Why would you want to haste with such an important task, one might ask. Well, it turns out that most of the time a long decision making doesn’t come as a result of thorough exploration of the topic or weighting the options. Rather, it happens due to an ineffective distribution of duties or reluctance to change the status quo.
Let’s imagine two companies that work in the same area and are direct competitors. There is a major and sudden innovation happening in their sphere of business on Monday afternoon and they have to react to it by adjusting the way they operate. This requires them both to go through a decision making management.
In company A:
- The Project Manager receives the news on Monday and wants to discuss them with the business owner.
- Unfortunately, the latter works half a day and is already absent, so the PM has to wait till Tuesday to tell the news.
- Then, the business owner has to discuss it with all the stakeholders, so he arranges a meeting on Wednesday. They discuss everything and come up with some decision that the owner explains to the PM.
- On Thursday, the Project Manager announces it to other managers and they surely have some clarifying questions.
- Again, the PM has to wait till Friday to be able to ask them to the owner. Finally, by the afternoon everyone has the information they need.
- Surely, implementing huge changes right before everybody goes to weekend is a bad idea, so they decide to postpone it till Monday.
That’s how it takes them a week before they can even start working with the changes.
Now, let’s look at company B:
- The PM learns the news and, knowing who the real decision makers in the company are, alerts them all and the business owner as well.
- Thus, they and the PM can meet on Tuesday, discuss the issue, and come up with the solution. The same day, the PM announces their decision to other managers and gathers their questions and suggestions.
- On Wednesday, he is able to clarify everything with the owner, explain to other managers, and they start working on the changes by the afternoon.
This way, thanks to the PM having the information and access to the stakeholders, him being present during the decision making and being online with the owner, the company B is able to react to the new situation in just three days.
On the first look, having a head start of just 3 workdays doesn’t look like anything groundbreaking. But think about it this way – company B is able to complete the decision making TWICE as fast as company A. And each of their processes will be that much more effective!
So what’s the trick?
It’s actually not that difficult to organize effective decision making practices within your company or team. Basically, it all comes with these simple steps:
- Identify priorities. A great idea would be using the MoSCoW methodology. This implies that you define what the important (MUST), less important (SHOULD), optional (CAN), and unimportant (WON’T) aspects of the choice are;
- Know the decision makers and approach them directly. If you are a business owner, it might be tempting to control every aspect of operations. However, the longer chain of responsibility you have built, the more time it will take to pass a piece of information through it. Sometimes it’s best to step away and let people do their job;
- Assign responsibilities. Stepping away doesn’t mean letting everyone do what and how they want. Someone has to be responsible for every part of the decision implementation;
- Be flexible. The worst thing you can do with your business is making it strictly follow a predefined route. For example, when preparing a strategic plan, don’t lay it out in a way that will make it complicated to approach later with changes. Better use services like Roadmap Planner that allows you to both build a plan of any scope and quickly adjust it. Besides, using such a cloud-based technology will let you enable a real-time collaboration. Which in turn will drastically boost the speed of decision making management.
We hope this little guide will help you avoid many problems and make your business more efficient. And if you wish to try Roadmap Planner to see if it works for you, download it here and get a 21-day free trial.