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The worst decision you ever made?

The worst decision you ever made?

Nicola Hopes

4 May 2021

And the award for the most frustrating story from a client last week goes to….

Picture the scene: a key decision made in a governance meeting is carried out by all but one group member who went rogue. That Director, whose role had a big impact on the outcome, decided to do their own thing. There wasn’t enough clarity over who really had the call and what should happen next. And the business has paid the price.

The implications have cost hours of management time (and ultimately money) to fix.

Not to mention the totally avoidable damage to their team members’ patience and resilience. At a time when, frankly, they have enough to deal with.

I wish I could say it’s the only story about bad-decision-making discipline that I’ve heard recently.

But it’s not. And we need to fix it.

Bad decision-making costs money

A report by Gartner at the end of 2018 includes a jaw dropping statistic:

“At most companies, poor operational decision-making compromises upward of 3% of profits.”
Gartner VP, Randeep Rathindran

As per my example, bad decision-making also costs energy. And engagement.

The meetings where you make those decisions have to deliver value too.

For example, a monthly 3-hour meeting of 10 Directors or Senior Managers could cost around £200K per annum. In addition to the lost revenue from time that could have been spent delivering results.

Add to that the complexity of hybrid working meetings in future – with some people ‘in the room’ and some working remotely – and improving the speed and quality of decision-making should be at the top of your to-do list.

Decisions, decisions

You’ll be pleased to know that the answer doesn’t have to involve a headache-inducing re-structure of your teams and meetings.

But it does involve some thought.

Try these tips and reap the rewards.

Tip 1: A quick taste of RAPID

• This is a tool used to identify the decision-maker for any key decisions.
• My experience backs up the research that if this isn’t clear, it causes confusion, delays and duplication of work.
• Once you’ve signed up to how decisions will work, live with it. As my example shows, doing your own thing doesn’t help anyone.
• You can read more about this helpful Bain and Co. tool here.

Tip 2: Facilitate your way to freedom

If you chair a decision-making group:

• Invest in your skills. Make sure you know how to facilitate pacey meetings where you get the best out of the participants.
• Plan how will you manage hybrid working meetings.
• Have the discipline to cancel meetings where there’s no decision to make that month – freeing everyone up for something more useful.

Tip 3: Updates don’t need an audience

If a regular meeting (or part of meeting) is only used to share progress or information, drop it and change to more time-saving methods:

• Informal short video calls on less busy days
• Well-structured emails including links to key reports
• An MS Teams workspace that creates a regular sharing cycle.

Investing the time to get this right now will save you time, and frustration, in future.

Saving just 1 hour per week will give you back more than 1 working week each year! Multiply that across your team and imagine what you could deliver.

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