Your business is faced with hundreds, if not thousands of unique choices every single day. How you respond to these decisions dictates, to a large degree, the future success of your organization. So if you feel ill-equipped to make smart choices, then it’s time to deal with the underlying issues at play.
Practical Ways to Improve Organizational Decision Making
Naturally, people tend to be indecisive. Something as simple as choosing which salad to order off the menu for lunch can command a lot of brainpower. So, when you consider significant choices that define the direction of an entire organization, it makes sense that there’s usually some uncertainty involved. But, at the end of the day, is your organization capable of making the right decisions?
Unless you’ve given it some thought and established a framework through which you make decisions, then chances are your company is ill-prepared to make sound decisions on a consistent basis. Don’t get stressed out, though. Here are some practical ways to improve organizational decision making in only a matter of weeks.
1. Choose the Right Tools
In today’s day and age of information overload, your organization needs the right tools in order to make sense of all the data and insights it’s collecting. Without the right tools, it’s nearly impossible to make educated assumptions.
What sort of tools do you need? It all depends on your organization and what you’re trying to accomplish, but let’s take a look at an example. Consider for a moment that you run a large e-commerce business with lots of different sales channels and warehouses. One of your biggest pain points is that there’s so much fragmentation in terms of inventory. Customers are buying products via different sales channels and your team is then picking and packing from different warehouses.
Without the right tools, trying to make smart logistics choices is nearly impossible. The best solution for this company would be to adopt a tool that allows for centralized oversight and control.
Is there a tool (or suite of tools) that could help your business overcome a pressing pain point, as in the previous example? If so, you may need to implement it before you can improve organizational decision making.
2. Offset Subjective Inclinations
Within the organization, who is making important decisions? Is there just one decision maker, or are multiple people involved? And if there are multiple people involved, is there a process for handling differing opinions?
One of the biggest challenges involves overcoming the subjective nature of people. No matter how smart and selfless an individual is, they’re naturally going to make choices that align with their own values.
According to R.J. Omerod, there are three things you can do to manage the subjective nature of people when it comes to making decisions: '(1) Use a two-tiered approach with a small group of core people who set the standards that a larger group can implement with autonomy but within those standards; (2) Tap into as much knowledge within the organization as you can, and (3) Ensure that those carrying out the decisions are involved in making them, and take into account a wide variety of views prior to setting the context.'
3. Always be Thinking Ahead
You need to practice decision making even when there’s no decision to be made. You can do this by conducting 'what if' scenarios. Whenever something happens, ask your team 'what if' the alternative happened. How would your organization respond if the opposite were true? By making a habit of thinking ahead and playing devil’s advocate, you can create a company that’s always contemplating the relevancy of choices.
Prioritize Better Decision Making
'One thing that sets great companies apart is the ability to make high-quality decisions,' explains Marcia Blenko, an expert in process improvement. 'But it isn't just decision quality—the top performers also make those decisions quickly and execute them effectively. And they don't spend too much or too little effort in the process.'
Your company doesn’t naturally become adept at making smart choices without any effort or strategic planning. As an organization made up of imperfect people that tend to be indecisive in their personal lives, quick and accurate decision making isn’t second nature. But once you prioritize it, you’ll be amazed by how quickly your company will evolve.