Whether you manage a huge company or a small team, your success depends on the quality of your decisions. But, in spite of the immense value of effective decision making, some leaders fail to spend time considering the structure of the decision-making process, including how to make it work best for their teams.
The right process can lead to agile, profitable decisions, and the wrong ones can lead to hasty choices or cumbersome decision-making meetings. To streamline decision making for your people, it may be time to revisit your organization’s process.
Identify key decisions
Before you get started, identify the types of key decisions that move the needle for your business. This might include anything from larger strategic or operational decisions to smaller, everyday decisions that can add up over time. From here, you’ll use the steps below for creating a decision-making process with standards around how future choices are made.
Centralized vs. decentralized decisions
Decentralized decision making allows certain members of a team to have decision-making power, while centralized decision making requires only a single individual within your organization. The best choice for your company will depend on your goals, and most organizations move back and forth between both decision-making styles depending on their needs.
For example, if you have a company where you would rather empower lower-level employees to make decisions, provided they’ve been trained to act upon your company’s broader strategy, you might prefer a company culture that focuses on decentralized decisions. On the other hand, if you have decisions that must be predictable and strongly aligned to a single goal, a more centralized structure may be what’s best for you.
Identify the decision makers
Once you’ve determined whether each type of key decision should be centralized or decentralized, it’s time to identify your needs in terms of decision makers.
Here are a few questions to answer:
- Who will be responsible for making the decision?
- Does anyone need to review the choice they’ve made?
- Who needs to be informed of the decision?
- What are the time frames for the decision?
- Are there avenues for appeal?
As you consider your answers, you may find that your people need extra education or experience around the decision-making process. Having a team with strong abilities to weigh options and make strategic choices will enhance the decision process for your company as a whole.
Communicate the decision process
The key to an effective decision-making process is to communicate it. Make sure that everyone involved knows how to get decisions made, and is aware of their own responsibilities Proper expectations around timing and other aspects of the decisions need to be established. The ultimate goal is to be streamlined, while not sacrificing effectiveness. Don’t forget to check for understanding, and to empower your people to make decisions without supervision, as appropriate.
The right decision-making process can improve your company’s responsiveness, leading to nimble performance—as long as the structure is well thought out. Take some time to coordinate efforts among your leadership and teams for faster decision-making and higher employee engagement in your company’s day-to-day strategies.
For more tips on creating structures that work best for your business, check out our other blog posts.