GET FURTHER, FASTER: 5 TIPS TO ACCELERATE CRITICAL DECISION-MAKING

By: Emma Muckersie

Making critical decisions in any organisation is tough. And it only gets more difficult when you’re doing it at speed. But to get ahead and stay there, you need to be able to move fast.

At Decidedly, we help the world’s most ambitious brands accelerate decision-making and develop future-ready products, services and strategies, faster. Here are our 5 tips to accelerate critical decision-making.

1. Create a shared understanding

Tip number 1. Make sure everyone has a shared understanding of the problem at hand from the get-go. If you’re redesigning a bank account and one person thinks the issue is the interest rate, and another thinks it’s the online banking experience, you’re going to come a cropper sooner not later. But don’t just look to the past. Agree on a vision of the future and the metrics you’ll use to measure success. With everyone aligned on exactly where you want to get to, you’ll find that decision-making instantly becomes easier. And faster.

2. Use an iterative approach to get further, faster

Every business has assumptions. So instead of trying to boil the ocean, focus on testing these. Understand the different opinions that are held in the business. Prioritise them. And test your key hypotheses. By focusing on the issues that matter, you’ll get further, faster. And you’ll bring your stakeholders on the journey too – by giving them a chance to be heard.

3. Keep stakeholders engaged throughout

Getting your stakeholders onboard isn’t just important upfront. If you want to keep pace on your project, you’ll need to ensure they’re engaged throughout. So what are our top tips?

First identify your stakeholders. And don’t be afraid to keep it to a select few. Making it clear upfront that key decisions will be made by a smaller team will allow you to progress faster.

Next, think carefully about each stakeholder’s needs. Whilst you’ll need to work collaboratively with your project team, most senior stakeholders don’t need to know the ins and outs of every project. From newsletters and videos to quizzes and dedicated microsites, find fun ways to keep stakeholders engaged with top-line findings throughout. Whatever you do, don’t work on your project in a blackbox. Springing a surprise on stakeholders at a critical point is a sure-fire way to hold up decisions.

4. Get familiar with the decision-making landscape

Unexpected bumps in the road are one of the main reasons that decisions stall. But lots of these can be anticipated and mitigated against with some careful planning upfront. Get to know the decision-making landscape and consider the barriers that could bring decision-making to a standstill. Is there a budgetary sign-off process that needs to be followed? Do you need to ensure key milestones coincide with your business’ planning cycle? Is there a procurement framework you need to abide with? By mapping these factors out in advance and thinking carefully about how to navigate each step, you’ll be able to keep pace on your project and progress decision-making at speed.

5. Make it real for stakeholders

One way of making the decision-making process easier – and therefore faster – is to bring things to life for your stakeholders. If you’re developing an insight-led marketing strategy, use videos, photos, pen portraits to immerse stakeholders in consumers’ worlds. Because once they really understand consumers’ needs, they’ll able to make more confident decisions, faster.

Or if you’re designing a new product, don’t just tell people what the concept might look like. Create it. We do this regularly for our clients by designing hi-fidelity prototypes. Instead of flicking through slides, stakeholders can scroll through a prototype app or website and see how the concept would work before their very eyes. Making it real in this way can help with getting buy-in, progressing decisions faster.