The Top 6 Mistakes in Decision-Making
Why an integrated solution is key to avoiding common pitfalls
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Quick and efficient decision-making is key to the success of any business or organisation, from small start-ups to leading national NHS trusts. But given the sheer complexity of larger organisations and the variability of the risks they face in today’s modern world, making the right decisions has become harder – and the consequences of making the wrong ones have grown.
Most of the poor decisions that cause organisations and businesses to fail all share some similar traits, and by avoiding these common pitfalls, smart decision-makers can avoid deviating from their goals, missing opportunities, and wasting precious time, energy and resources:
1 – Disorganisation
Organisations today are increasingly complex, and decision-making is often slow because the data needed to make smart, informed decisions is often scattered across a hodgepodge of disparate tools, spreadsheets, documents, emails and meeting notes.Decisions are delayed whilst gathering the data, delaying the benefit of the change.
Another impact is that decision makers find themselves scrabbling to find data and rather than delay the decision until the data is found end up making decisions based on insufficient information – sometimes without even realising that important information is missing. Most key decision-makers have suffered from this loss of information at some point in the midst of an important project, or when trying to plan actions to deal with anticipated risks, with lost email threads, forgotten meeting notes or inadequately updated spreadsheets all combining to cause problems.makers find themselves scrabbling to find data and end up making decisions based on insufficient information – sometimes without even realising that important information is missing. Most key decision-makers have suffered from this loss of information at some point in the midst of an important project, or when trying to plan actions to deal with anticipated risks, but lost email threads, forgotten meeting notes or inadequately updated spreadsheets can all combine to create real challenges.
2 - Unclear ownership
One thing worse than not knowing what someone else is doing is not knowing what you should be doing. Having unclear ownership of objectives and outcomes can leave entire teams in paralysis, with critical decisions left unmade because one person is waiting for another, who in turn is waiting for someone else to own the issue and make the decision. Typically, people get stuck focusing on small tasks in order to feel productive, only to later discover that they’ve wasted their time and ended up duplicating other people’s efforts, or spent their time and energy on the actions that have little to no impact on achieving the results that they are relied upon to achieve.
3 - Unclear alignment to priority Outcomes
No decision can be a good one unless it’s aligned with achieving the desired Outcomes. Organisations without clear and well-communicated plan of goals or priorities will typically fail to align themselves for success, and unless they know what they’re working towards and have clear accountability and clear measures of success, key decision-makers end up pulling in different directions or making decisions based on assumptions and false conclusions about what they think needs to be achieved.
4 - Poor decision-making processes
Creating a clear and effective decision-making process is an important step for organisations that are focused on success. Poor decisions can arise from an incomplete decision-making process that fails to involve enough of the available insight and talent in the organisation, or to sufficiently evaluate the potential impacts of alternatives. People tend to over-think decisions, especially in the beginning, constantly studying new data, finally end up realizing that the opportunity is missed. It takes courage to be responsible and move forward with your decisions. Indecision is often worse than making the wrong decision because of wasted time and opportunities.
But no one will make 100% right decisions, and the decision-making process must include a review and revise process step. Identifying the effects or impacts of a decision more quickly, and if it is not successful, enabling corrective decisions to be made.
5 - Lack of communication
Work in today’s organisations is rarely done successfully if it’s parcelled up into separate silos. Integration and collaboration are essential for properly communicating a decision along with its rationale and implications, which in turn is critical to successfully implementing it. By making it easy for the right people to see the impacts of a decision and making it easy for relevant key stakeholders to take part in (and engage with) the decision-making process, their knowledge, experience, and expertise ultimately help improve the quality of the decision.
6 – Failure to learn from mistakes
Decisions are fundamental tools that help companies face challenges, uncertainties, and opportunities. The quality of the decisions will determine the success, effectiveness and productivity or an organisation, and bad decisions can lead to failure. But at the same time, smart organisations know that those same failures can be used as opportunities to learn, grow, and even thrive. Maintaining an easy to use record of the situation, the decision and the effect is vital for organisational memory and organisational learning. Don’t get trapped into making the same sub-optimal decisions again and again!
To make good decisions, lessons must be learned from bad ones, which means that organisations need clear, robust tools in place to help ensure that they have accurate data readily available in order to see patterns and see the clear relationships between actions and their impacts.
It’s a tall order for any digital decision-management system, but thankfully a brilliant new solution exists in the form of the InPhase Decision Tracker App. By enabling organisations to track the needs for and impacts of their decisions – both predicted and learned – decision makers can easily see and analyse the gaps in performance and identify key areas for improvement. Importantly, organisations need a solution that’s designed from the ground up to be connected with other systems in your organisation, and the Decision Tracker App is precisely that. By integrating with the full suite of other InPhase digital apps, and a wide range of third-party system it makes it fast and easy to collate relevant data from multiple sources into one place, giving you a single version of the truth that enables you to make truly informed decisions with confidence and at pace.
Today’s organisations may face bigger and more complex decision-making challenges than their predecessors, but thanks to InPhase, they have the advanced tools on hand to make the process easier than ever and help make better decisions, faster.
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About the Author
As our Chief Executive and Founder, Robert has been the visionary leading InPhase to be one of the UK's leading providers of business management, governance and assurance solutions, and helping organisations align their actions and goals more easily and efficiently with InPhase's suite of integrated apps.