One of my clients was reviewing his company’s performance metrics recently and concluded that innovation was a major area of concern. The company’s product portfolio had remained stagnant over the past decade and customers were beginning to notice. As I looked deeper, red tape and bureaucracy were fueling sluggish decision-making processes at every level and had no strategies that would enable them to reverse this barrier. Something had to change. When they finally addressed the root causes, including how to make decisions efficiently and effectively, business began to turn around.
As a leader, the key to your success lies in making timely decisions. Here are three key areas you want to watch for to avoid being stifled:
1. Limit the number of people involved in decisions
Executives tend to include too many people in key decisions. They fail to appreciate that decision-making effectiveness is limited when too many people are invited to the party. Studies have shown the ideal decision-making team size is 4 - 5 people.
2. Indirectly involve many different stakeholders when making decisions
While it’s important to limit direct decision-makers, you still want to involve a variety of indirect stakeholders in your decision-making process. Physicist William Pollard reminds us, “Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit.”
3. Avoid decision fatigue at all costs
Many, varied biases and viewpoints can stall decision making, which is why it is critical to keep your decision-making team small. It’s not surprising that as more and more people are involved in the decision-making process, decision effectiveness sharply declines. In fact, research by Bain & Company found that after a decision-making group has swelled to seven people, each additional group member reduced decision effectiveness by 10%.
When it comes to decision making, more is not better. By restricting the number of people involved, you remain flexible, efficient, and better positioned to cultivate a culture of innovation.
Nadine Greiner, Ph.D. provides Executive Coaching and Human Resources solutions. Her mission is to make the executive experience exceptionally enjoyable and effective. She believes that the world needs great leaders and has dedicated her career to helping them.
As an organization psychologist and former corporate CEO, Dr. Nadine understands the pressures and demands executives face. She offers her clients the high expertise that only comes with three decades of consulting success, and a dual Ph.D. in Organization Development and Clinical Psychology. Dr. Nadine is an in-demand speaker, teaches in doctoral programs, and coaches other consultants. She is the author of two books: ‘The Art of Executive Coaching: Secrets to Unlock Leadership Performance’, and of ‘Stress-less Leadership: How to Lead in Business and in Life’. amazon.com/author/nadinegreiner