Decisions in Disarray: Common Pitfalls in Decision-Making

Let’s talk about decision making. How many important decisions did you and your team make last week? Last quarter? Do you ever pause to reflect on the key decisions that helped you to accomplish (or miss) your goals last year?

When we really think about it, decisions made, good or bad, are the pivotal factor shaping our business's performance. They are critically important but often overlooked. Like the foundation of a building, good decisions provide stability and are vital for the long-term integrity of a business. A poor foundation in a building leads to safety hazards, water damage, reduced property value, and legal headaches. A poor foundation in decision making leads to paralyzed projects, wasted resources, mistakes, and teams without direction.

It’s clear that creating a culture of good decision-making is a vital part of any leader's job, but data shows that many are struggling with it.

A recent Mckinsey survey of over 1,200 managers across a range of global companies revealed strong signs of broken decision-making processes. Fewer than half of the managers say that decisions are timely, and 61 percent say that at least half the time spent making them is ineffective. The opportunity costs of this are staggering: about 530,000 days of managers’ time potentially squandered each year for a typical Fortune 500 company, equivalent to some $250 million in wages annually.

What does a broken decision-making process look like? We’ve spoken with over 100 leaders over the past 6 months and have heard first hand that many teams struggle with dysfunctional decision making. Here are the most common challenges faced today:

  1. Decisions are made inconsistently & inefficiently - Most decisions are made through a fragmented combination of emails, chat threads, meetings, and cloud docs. This lack of structure leads to delayed projects and confusion over past decisions.

  2. Decision ownership and roles are blurry - It’s often unclear who is the ultimate decision maker, when the decision needs to be made, and important stakeholders often aren’t included when they should be.

  3. Team members have different understanding of what decisions are trying to achieve - There is often a lack of clarity regarding the scope of decisions and the criteria for determining their success.

  4. Meetings aren’t effective channels for decision making - Excessive meetings are spent discussing background info and opinions instead of decision making, leading to wasted time and meeting overload.

  5. Decisions aren’t consistently recorded or communicated - This leads to teams being out of sync, constantly questioning decisions, and mistakes being remade

  6. Existing processes don’t translate to a remote work environment - The move to remote work has put pressure on traditional processes and structures where asynchronous collaboration has become the norm for many teams today.

Do these challenges resonate with you? If so, we'd love to hear from you. Our mission at Colloq is to help leaders overcome these roadblocks and turn their team into decision-making experts.

Stay tuned for more content! In our upcoming blogs, we'll dive deeper into these common decision-making pitfalls and provide actionable strategies to overcome them. Be sure to follow us and subscribe to our newsletter. We also invite you to reach out to learn more about how Colloq can support your organization and join our beta community!