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Although many companies implement transformation tactics in order to develop their functions, they often don’t get the desired results when trying to develop innovative or pioneering ideas. One of the elements that cause this difficulty is the decision-making methods.
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By Mia Kollia
Translated by Alexandros Theodoropoulos
Corporations and organisations usually recognise quite easily when it’s necessary to invest, for example in the digital transformation or in the renewal of their executives in order to develop new imaginative operating processes or modern business models. At the same time, however, they may not even suspect how and to what extent the efficiency of their plans is affected by the most basic process: the way decisions are made.
Precisely because many companies are just starting out in such processes as well as realizing the value of experimentation, they run the risk of being stuck in very specific approaches based on their experience and past practices. This means that it’s very likely that they will consume their available resources without ultimately achieving a substantial functional transformation.
Before making a decision, it is useful to consider the following perspectives in order to have a more complete picture of the topic:
- The Customer
While it is clear that the user/customer at the other end should be at the core of our decisions, it has been found that direct contact with customers and their needs is not always central to the planning of many companies.
One tactic that has been proved successful is the participation in key meetings of staff dealing with customer service and direct sales. These employees know the requirements and needs of the clients better than any other executive.
- The geographical location
Especially for companies with stores in different places or for organisations that target many different markets, it is worthy to include in the decision-making processes the perspective of each market or each place.
The information that can be collected on site in different places can be very useful, especially when we take into account that small segments in small markets can be more flexible and successful compared to their larger counterparts.
- The data
The use of quantitative and qualitative data is essential in the decision-making process. Every organisation should have the necessary infrastructure for data collection, especially nowadays, when data is changing at breakneck speed.
It is also worth thinking about how we ensure that all participants have access to this data. The visualization of raw data will help all participants to better understand the data and, therefore, to be able to process more effectively the information they need to know.
Innovation requires flexibility and nothing can kill flexibility faster than micromanagement. As people who lead or guide, it is up to us to empower our partners and staff to operate to our own high standards.
Creating smaller teams, staffed by qualified staff led by a leader, can give new impetus to decision making. Caution! It is important that everyone understands the context of the operation of these groups, so that there is no overlap or misunderstanding.
Enhancing these more flexible systems frees up time for C-Suite executives to focus on the most important processes of developing innovative ideas.
How often are decisions made?
In companies that operate in traditional markets, it is common to follow a quarterly, semi-annual or annual program that sets out meetings for internal reviews or suggestions.
Flexible and modern businesses that are driven by the market and the needs that arise whenever they arise, consider - and rightly so - that meetings for data analysis and decision making are important to be done more often.
Without exaggeration (it takes a long time for valuable data to be collected and analyzed), new leaders tend to invite their teams frequently to meetings of development and brainstorming.
Cooperation through dispute:
These new habits, which include the collective approach to market challenges, are largely based on the ability to communicate openly and accept disagreements with respect and security. How can we, as leaders, create such a conciliation environment?
- We ask questions
When we are not afraid to ask questions, we lead our teams through our own example. Innovations with successful results cannot flourish in an environment of fear or insecurity. Basic examples of questions we can ask our groups are "What process gave you these results?", "What do you need to do to take the next step?", "How can I help?".
- We focus on the data
Objective data collected through well-structured processes is the solid basis for productive discussions. When all participants have access to the same data, we avoid creating a climate of ambiguity and misunderstanding.
- We find a common goal
Whether it is 5 people or 8 large groups, all employees are more productive when working for a common goal. Precisely because it is easy to misunderstand some issues when many people get involved or derail discussions, we can always bring the participants back by reminding them how a certain decision will benefit the client/customer. So we can all focus on effective problem solving and developing innovation that will be really useful because that is the only goal and we shouldn’t miss it.
New ways of working for innovative results
Every major change in an organisation requires courage on the part of leaders. It may be risky, but it is certain that companies that don’t deal with and ultimately don’t meet the demands of the modern market, sooner or later, will suffer the consequences of clinging to the past.
Renewing the approach to the way we make decisions is another step in the evolution of our organisations and companies. It takes patience, perseverance and concentration on our goal!