Oxford, United Kingdom (PressExposure) December 07, 2009 -- At a time of uncertainty like no other in the history of modern civilisation your ability to make fast smart decisions is crucial to your immediate and future well-being. This includes the state of health of your business, regardless of status, as any business relies upon its employees to make smart decisions every day.
The CEO of GM has just resigned after only eight months at the helm. His decisions were not taking the company in the direction it wanted to go fast enough. It seems that time is now the most important commodity as companies and individuals struggle to maintain their position or strive to achieve their ambitions.
When speed is the essential criteria everything becomes a race, and when you speed everything up you notice less of the detail. Conversations are cut short, evaluation is short-circuited, timelines reduced and creativity squeezed. More and more decisions are made from gut instinct using less data evaluation.
When acceleration occurs in a climate where fewer people are doing more work there is a tendency to keep the head down, role up the sleeves and put your back to the grindstone. This affects relationships as people have less time to share ideas and experiences, less time to meet and check progress, and less time to keep others up-to-date. The concept of the team can wear very thin under these circumstances.
The scenario is like having an aggressive driver on your tail. If you break you risk an accident, and if you hit the gas you enter a race. There has to be a smarter way.
So what can you do about this?
There are a few simple points of focus to remember whilst you are being drawn into the race:
* It's not about the number of decisions but the effectiveness of each decision.
So reduce the number of decisions. Reign in what's not important and focus attention on what is. Design a new decision-making process which allows quality within a much reduced timeframe. With each decision you are about to make, ask yourself this 'if I ignore this decision what's the worst that could happen?' Filter out decisions that are not part of your strategy - focus on those that are.
* Information is still important
How much information do you really need? Where will you get it? Can you utilise new internet applications that bring you the information you need in a format which makes it efficient? Can you ditch some of those highly complex spreadsheets by having your data filtered and referenced at source? It seems that the internet is exploding with new ways of increasing productivity whilst the time needed to evaluate all the new possibilities is such a valuable resource.
The simple questions to ask when considering information sources are:
What do you need? Where can you get it? How will you use it? And the most important question of all... 'Does it speed up your decision-making process?'
* Experience still has a value
Knowledge management seems to have taken a back seat to employee engagement these days, but it is still a key requirement for any company whose products and services require expert knowledge.
Often the information you want, or access to it can be in your office, in someone's head. Taking time to connect with others face-to-face can reap rewards if it opens doors to important information. There may be a tendency to cut meetings as people become ensconced with their computers, and email seems an efficient mode of communication. But email, as you probably know from your own experience, has severe limitations.
* Creativity is still more effective with a team than with one
No matter how busy you are, two brains are always more creative than one. Kill creativity at your peril. Whilst speed may be the essence during a period of uncertainty and major change, creativity is the gateway to the future. Balancing these two crucial components is the challenge.
Decision making can happen as a result of a shot from the hip, logical analysis, a formal committee process, or blind optimism. You need to make decisions, this is clear, but which method are you deploying? Which method is your organisation deploying? And is it working for you?