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IMPROVING DECISION-MAKING IN CHALLENGING TIMES
26 November 2020

Three simple steps to embrace lessons learnt from the pandemic and take advantage of the digital landscape

Research by Bain & Co suggests that a company’s effective decision-making and execution is closely related to its financial performance.

The Covid-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of decision making, as many companies and people are struggling with the socio-economic effects and implications of the situation. Acceleration in decision making, approaches and processes has become essential.

The survey found that since the start of the current pandemic, companies have become more focused, decision-driven, and innovative. Almost 62 per cent say they have been efficient in their decision-making since the crisis started, many hope this will continue beyond Covid-19.

Here are three approaches currently being used by companies which will most likely be useful in the post-pandemic future:

Lesson 1: Use digital tools to boost your potential

Digital transformation was in full swing long before the pandemic started, but the arrival of the virus has accelerated the use of many tools such as Zoom and Miro. Digital program-management tools have become essential in decision-making, where getting the right information to the right people at the right time is crucial to creating large-scale change.

These tools help companies to communicate and allow the best-fitting employees to solve any issues in a timely manner. Corporate strategies are the consolidation of many connected decisions and the better informed each decision is, the more likely the strategy will be successful.

Lesson 2: Work with the right internal and external talent

Technology has made collaboration better during the pandemic, showing that physical location is no longer a barrier to communication and collaboration. Companies can and should make the most of internal and external experts and resources no matter the geography. Partnerships with external talent, such as social media influencers, are more popular than ever.

For example, an international food company found itself launching a new breakfast product during the pandemic, and instead of traditional approaches like in-store sampling, it partnered up with influencers who hosted virtual sessions from their own homes with sample kits.

The majority of the influencers’ audience (and the subsequent focus of the campaign’s budget) were busy mothers, and as a result, the company boosted influencer marketing, which busy parents seem to relate to best.

Lesson 3: Decision-making at the right level to improve efficiency

Good decision-making means the balancing of the executive team’s authority with other leaders. It is important to grant employees the authority and flexibility to act in situations where they can bring the most value while the executive team focuses on establishing the strategy needed to deliver priorities and tackle issues.

High-level executives should focus as much as possible, on moves in strategy, budgets, culture, values and positioning of staff.

Functional leaders and relevant cross-functional teams can take day-to-day decisions. Covid-19 has forced many companies to quickly adjust to a new operating environment. Companies that consistently tackle decisions at the right level have been especially effective at keeping everyday operations on track.

Organisations trying to improve and speed-up their decision-making can start by looking at the following questions:

  • Has the pandemic impacted where decision authority lies within your business?
  • Has it changed the way you make decisions?
  • Which changes have helped hasten decision-making in terms of individual responsibilities or reporting structures?

We have all learned valuable lessons from the pandemic, and it’s important to embrace them. Using digital tools, accessing all available talent and skills and ensuring that decisions are taken by those in the best position to make them happen will help your business make something positive of the current disruption.