Making decisions rapidly is the biggest factor that organizations can improve. A study by McKinsey discovered that only 48% of participants believed their organizations make decisions quickly. Think of the time wasted by not deciding!
Slow decisions are a serious detriment in a world that changes quickly. Ideas can become popular in weeks or months and consumer behavior is being accelerated by social media, the internet and our insatiable desire to consume.
If your organization waits too long, you could find yourself being mentioned in the same sentence as Blockbuster and Bed, Bath and Beyond.
The most successful organizations are constantly looking for ways to increase their decision speed. Let me give you one example.
I love Spotify, the music app. It is one of the few apps that I use daily, often for hours. I’m a long standing paying customer and have always been amazed at how quickly the company moves.
To my surprise, the company has not been moving fast enough, at least according to the founder, Daniel Ek.
Spotify made a significant restructuring earlier in 2023 with the hopes of driving “more efficiency, control costs, and speed up decision-making.” My ears perked up when I read the last word in the blog post.
The restructuring is meant to reduce what I call the “invisible buildup of slowness.” You see, every organization is accumulating slowness. The accumulation comes from the addition of processes, people, strategies, revenue and other factors. It is impossible to avoid the accumulation just like you can’t stop dust from appearing in your house.
You can, however, clean up the dust and remove the accumulation. That’s what Daniel is doing with Spotify. If you don’t do it frequently, then you’re forced to make a “deep clean” every few years. Deep cleans are often painful and involve layoffs.
In an ideal world, organizations would go through smaller clean ups quarterly but that’s not always possible. Regardless of how often you clean up, you can’t skip it. If you don’t clean your organization, the slowness will eventually consume you.
So how do you know if your organization is making decisions quickly enough? Take the assessment below.
There are nine questions in the assessment. For each question, rate your team or organization on a scale of one to five, with one being never, two being rarely, three being sometimes, four being frequently and five being always.
The questions are as follows.
- We know exactly how long it takes our team to make major decisions
- We have a transparent process for making decisions
- We can categorize decisions to focus on the most important ones
- We work backwards from the goal instead of trying to do everything
- We remove anyone who isn’t needed for a decision
- We don’t allow “deja vu”—repeating the same topic—conversations to happens
- Our leaders delegate decisions whenever possible
- Our management team knows how their work is connected to the strategy
- We make decisions boldly and without fear
The total potential score is 45 and here are some guidelines for understanding your rating.
30 – 45 = congratulations, you are making decisions rapidly
15 – 29 = you make some decisions rapidly but there’s plenty of room for improvement
0 – 14 = you’re making decisions too slowly and you need a serious overhaul
Regardless of where you are, you can improve. Look through your answers and you will find the areas that require your attention.
Don’t vacillate on deciding to improve your decision speed. No organization has the luxury of time.