Management skills: four ways to make good decisions quickly


The rapid pace of digital transformation means it’s never been more important for IT managers to make big calls fast.

Sometimes this is easier said than done. With multiple inputs and data points, CIOs and their technology teams must be careful not to overthink the questions the business poses and instead make strong, quick decisions that produce the right results for the rest of the business. the organization.

So what is the key to effective decision making? Four business leaders give us their best advice.

1. Don’t be afraid to let your people stumble and recover

Nicki Doble, Group CIO at Cover-More, Insurance Specialist, thinks the best thing an executive can do is make a call and keep delivering. “Better to do than perfect,” she said.

Doble says companies with a clear strategy and vision will always have what she calls “no regrets decisions,” where senior executives can make choices quickly and then focus on the job at hand. Other decisions will be more difficult – and this is where great tech leaders aren’t afraid to act.

“If you’re trying to get out of delivery parts, you need an environment that allows for decision-making,” she says. If people think about things too much, it’s probably a culture that isn’t sure to fail, she argues.

The result can be that many people embark on projects that they know won’t deliver great results, but no one is speaking out – and inevitably no useful product is delivered. Doble encourages a different approach.

“If you want people to go and do things, sometimes you have to let your people trip up and recover. Most of the time you’ll be fine and of course you can correct it pretty quickly,” she says.

2. Empower the rest of your team to make decisions

Karl Hoods, director of digital and information at the Ministry of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, says most senior executives have an “instinct” when asked to make choices. This instinct comes from years of leadership.

“If you build a long career of decision making and problem solving, you know what’s right – and you know what’s wrong,” he says.

However, experience does not replace expert knowledge. Hoods says he can’t afford to make big calls in isolation – and that’s often due to the heavy workload he faces. It was then that he contacted the trusted staff of his team.

“I have to manage so much that I’m not an expert in everything, so I try to empower the rest of the team to make these decisions,” he says.

“An effective servant / leadership type approach means knowing that you cannot be the decision maker on everything. I can be there to support people and I can help them think through decisions they might want to make. at the end of the day, I have a team of experts; why would I think I am the expert on everything? ”

In these situations, Hoods simply asks his staff to tell him in advance if and when something is likely to go wrong: “Warned is warned,” he says.

3. Commit to a decision and go out and execute

Michael Voegele, chief digital officer of tobacco company Philip Morris International, says business leaders and their teams need to work hard to ensure that lengthy decision-making processes don’t get in the way. field delivery. It’s something he’s prioritizing in his own role right now.

“I spoke to my team and said, ‘Look, this is not the year for debates and discussions,” he says. “We’ve made all the decisions, we’ve decided where we want to go, we’ve got clear steps and we understand the journey and the end goal, so let’s focus on the execution.”

Voegele recognizes that business circumstances can change and that CIOs and their teams will of course need to correct. What they must avoid, however, is to allow the decision-making process to be constantly reopened to negotiation.

“That’s not what we do – we made a decision through a thorough review process of all inputs. Ultimately, our job is not just to make a decision, but to execute it. and comply with it. And I think that’s an important aspect. We have to get out of the idea that once a decision is made, that starts another phase of negotiations, “he said.

“People talk a lot about the time it takes to make decisions. I think it’s even more fundamental that once a decision is made, we are engaged and executed, and not continually calling into question. causes decisions in the future. “

4. Use the data to help you deliver

Claire Dickson, CIO of the multinational packaging company DS Smith, says she is a data-driven decision maker. When the right information is at their fingertips, business leaders need to be strong enough to make a call.

“I think if we have the right data it’s really easy to make decisions,” she says. “And we should just make decisions and move on. And actually, in a world where you iterate anyway, you can always iterate and adjust your course as you go along.”

Dickson says benchmarking and industry comparisons can help business leaders appeal to important strategic concerns. She also says the key to successful decision-making is often simply to “follow the money,” which she encourages her team to do.

But most importantly, she says, in a modern business environment dominated by Agile leadership styles, it’s important to just make a call and understand that minor changes can usually be made.

“I think it’s better to make a decision than not to make it,” she said. “Let’s not cripple the decision-making process by slowing everything down. In a world where you iterate bit by bit, that’s a better way to do it.”


Comments are closed.