Embedding effective decision making in your leadership team

Colleagues having a meeting

Having effective decision making embedded in your business will give you a competitive advantage. In markets with lots of competition and mature products, having strong and effective decisions in your organisation are one of the areas you can really set your business apart from others.

Decisions come down to one of two ideas – pragmatism or principle. Having your leadership team understand when you employ these will drive success in your business.

Knowing you have business savvy leaders who have strong business acumen is one part of good decision making. You need to also be confident that your leaders are using what they know correctly each and every day.

Here, we’re going to look at:

  • The process that goes into making a good decision
  • How your business can embed effective decision making
  • What the C-suite can do to help the decision-making process

How can my leadership team make effective decisions?

Balanced decisions that have a positive effect on your business are more important than ever. You need a leadership team that’s business savvy and know how to use their knowledge effectively.

Effective decision making needs to be methodical, as opposed to off-the-cuff or based on gut instinct. Your leaders need to:

  • Know where to source information
  • Decide if they will use a pragmatic or principled approach
  • Have the right contacts in the business to get opinions
  • Consider the business strategy
  • Understand how to measure outcomes

To make an effective decision.

Following up decisions is important, too. Ideally, decisions will be documented with a note of the alternatives that were considered, the risks that have been taken into account, and the main expected outcomes. These records can then be used to audit decisions and create a feedback loop.

Another element of effective decision making is that every choice is dynamic. Your leaders need to have enough business savvy to be able to monitor and adjust their decisions when things change. Having records and a feedback loop will help this become systematic in your organisation.

What can I do to embed effective decision making into my leadership team?

You want effective decision making to run through the veins of your business. It needs to be something that comes as second nature to your leadership team.

Harness their business savvy attitudes to become part of the very core of your business. Key ways you can embed effective decision making include:

  • Formalising decision-making processes – design a clear process for your leaders to follow to ensure everyone knows what making an effective decision looks like and what information needs to be used.
  • Have standard documents for decisions – this will make important decisions reviewable and ensure decisions can be traced back to strategic aims and be measured against KPIs.
  • Design a reward mechanism for effective decisions – success should be recognised and when your leadership team know they will get recognition it will motivate them to make effective decisions.
  • Provide ongoing training – making effective decisions can feel routine for some leaders, hosting regular, hands-on training like business simulation training will remind them of first principles and best practices.

What can my C-team do to help embed effective decisions?

The decisions made by board level leaders are going to be inherently different to those everyday decisions on the “shop floor”. However, these decisions can still follow the same path that your leadership team is being asked to follow.

Communicating the decisions being made at the very top of the business will make your leadership team understand the importance what they’re being asked to do. If your C-suite officers can link their choices back to strategy and explain how they drive business success too, it becomes a behaviour to emulate.

Having your highest-level leaders take part in business simulation training alongside others will allow for networking opportunities. Bringing all levels of leadership on to a team to make decisions in a simulated environment will allow senior leaders to coach and impart experience to developing leaders.

Conclusion

Effective decision making is what is going to set your business apart in highly competitive markets. First, your business needs to define what an effective decision looks like and how you expect it to be reached.

The big challenge is getting the process you design to be used by your leadership team. Making documenting easy and having formal feedback and reward mechanisms will encourage the right behaviour.

Regular, engaging training on making effective decisions that encompass your C-suite along with mid-level leaders will embed the processes you design by keeping them fresh and relevant.

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