Day three behind closed doors and the planning team is no closer to a final decision. Tempers are frayed, emotions and fatigue are running high, and one senior manager storms out of the room, so frustrated that she is now contemplating quitting.
The walls are covered in colour-coded post-it notes, the whiteboards are full of scrawls, and lists of pros and cons litter the table. But still the critical questions remain unresolved. Which projects should we cut? Which should we fund? What new initiative should we start? What system do we buy? Where should the new office be located? Headed by whom?
Teams meet to make critical decisions that will shape the future of their departments, and, ultimately, the profits and losses of their companies. Yet the decision-making process, which will determine organisational success, is extraordinarily subjective, inconsistent, and unreliable. Major decisions are based on little more than spreadsheets and short-term emotions.
Businesses succeed by making the right decisions, says David Hunter, CEO of The D-CYDE Group, and they fail when they make the wrong ones. In todays market, your strongest tool is your decision-making. And that means getting good input from as many people as possible, considering and then consciously rejecting all criteria, going beyond the obvious, widening your options, testing your assumptions, exploring alternatives, and then following through with courage and true commitment from everyone on the team. And doing it quickly every time. You simply cant afford not make smart, strategic decisions in all areas of your business; the risk is too high.
A recent KPMG study of 700 corporate mergers and acquisitionsa high-stake decisionshowed 83 per cent failed to create any value for shareholders. And a survey of more than 2,000 executives reported that 60 per cent believed that bad decisions were made just as frequently as good ones, 55 per cent were concerned about making bad choices based on ad hoc consultation, and 72 per cent believed their company decision-making is only moderately efficient or worse.
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