Join Mike Figliuolo for an in-depth discussion in this video Communicating, executing, and measuring, part of Decision-Making Strategies.
- Once a decision's been made, it must be communicated, executed, and then you have to measure it. Additionally, you need to adjust once you get new information. In terms of communication, be sure to articulate what the decision was, who made the decision, and why the decision was made. Let the organization know the goal of the decision was to drive this metric. Also, tell them, here's how we're going to measure the success of this decision, and to the extent you're able to identify events or information that might lead you to reverse the decision you've already made.
Put in place those trigger points to say "we need to go back and rethink this thing." Second, think through execution and the risks that come along with it. Just because a decision has been made, doesn't mean it gets executed by the organization. Sometimes you'll see passive aggressive behavior where people aren't doing the work. Or it's been a bad decision, and we get new information saying we should change course. Or new events that we didn't anticipate put that decision at risk.
Last, you have to measure and adjust accordingly. Set clear metrics in place that tie back to the original goal of the decision. If we're trying to make a decision that will grow our business, we may want to have a metric that says we're going to evaluate sales growth. And you can see that direct linkage between the metric and the original goal. Also react to ambiguity and new information as you resolve that source of uncertainty.
And be ready to change that decision as it becomes clear an incorrect decision was made in the first place. I know an example where a company was making a very large technology investment, and the decision was made that we were going to implement this new software platform. About two million dollars into the project it started becoming clear that this may not have been the right decision. But the executive who made the call upfront said, "well, we have a deadline and we've already communicated we're making this change, so go figure it out." And the only way to figure it out was to spend more money.
So more money was spent. And at five million dollars it became clear that we shouldn't be doing this. At ten, it was very clear, but this executive said "I've made my decision, we need to figure this out." 25 million dollars later, it became abundantly clear that this was absolutely the wrong decision, and yet that executive still wouldn't make the call to reverse course. And ultimately, the CEO stepped in, and said "we've made an incorrect decision, we need to write the project off, and we need to move down a different path." It is critical to Measure and Adjust, and be willing to say we made a bad decision in the first place, let's make a different one.
So, as you prepare to execute your decisions, think through your communication plan, identify the sources of risk and how you're going to mitigate them, and think through how you're going to measure as well as adjust if it becomes clear that that first decision wasn't the best one.
- Choosing a decision-making style
- Involving stakeholders
- Managing ambiguity and outcomes
- Reducing risk
- Communicating and executing decisions
- Measuring the results of decisions