The primary argument I hear against increasing the speed of decision-making is one of quality. Companies, rightfully so, are concerned that if they rush through important decisions, they will get them wrong. Hiring the wrong person can be even more painful if you have to let go of that person. Settling on the wrong strategy can have repercussions for years (and possibly your job).
Prudence seems to be the word of the day here. I got news for you. You can make faster decisions without sacrificing the quality. Speed does not mean guessing. You’re not in Vegas betting all your money on red.
Many companies are skeptical when I tell them that they could be doubling their decision speed. They might be used to weeks or months of careful deliberation. Consulting all stakeholders. Crossing their ts and dotting their is. If legal or compliance is involved, forget about it. I once worked with a technology company where legal vetoed everything we did. We couldn’t even make decisions because they were shut down by legal.
Nonetheless, increasing Decision Speed is done by adopting more effective ways of making decisions. Here’s a few of the strategies I get my clients to internalize.
1. What’s the Outcome?
If you don’t know where you’re going, you will probably get lost. When making a decision, companies need to be crystal clear on what they are trying to achieve.
I worked with a company that was spinning their wheels debating multiple technology options. After digging deeper into the situation, we agreed that their outcome was to better understand their customers. They already had all the technology they needed but they needed to know how to use it better.
2. No Deja Vu Allowed
Once you agree on a point, move on. Teams are spending way too much time in circular conversations. Once you agree on what kind of marketing campaign you will run, move on. I’m not saying rush through details but don’t repeat them endlessly. Impose a “No Deja Vu” rule in all your meetings.
3. Remove People
Decisions don’t require witnesses. Companies can increase speed by removing who’s involved in a decision. If someone is just listening, they likely do not need to be there.
Netflix has perfected this idea by giving everyone the power to make big decisions. The person who decided to acquire Stranger Things wasn’t a major executive. It was the person researching the deal who had the authority to sign a multi-million dollar contract.
If you’re worried about decisions going wrong, simply establish a time to review past decisions and how they could be improved. This is not the time to “approve” decisions but review what actually worked and what didn’t.
The best companies are making the right decisions. My goal is to help them do that faster so they can achieve more in a shorter time frame. Doubling your Decision Speed is a hell of a good way to do that.