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Operational Efficiency

Decision Making, Efficiency, Efficacy, and Cost

William McKee from GC Business Growth Hub partner InPD explains how devolving decision making can improve efficiency

How many high-quality decisions is a manager or leader able to make in a day? I have no idea, and there does not seem to be much in the way of conclusive research. From my own individual experience of striving to make high quality decisions, and from years of training and coaching managers and listening to their stories, I’d suggest the answer from an organisational perspective is ‘never enough’. 

Imagine a fictional leader and their team of five people. The leader makes all the decisions over a certain value of importance, or impact, budgetary value, whatever measure we want to use, and they can make twenty great decisions per day (time taken to understand the situation, gather the relevant facts, engage the relevant people, weigh the implications, and communicate the decision). That’s it, the bottle neck for the team is the leader and the pace at which the team can move is twenty calls per day.

"Effective delegation and team development can build trust in employees, allowing them to make important decisions and drive the company forward, reducing bottlenecks and costs associated with centralized decision-making."

Dawn Duggan, Head of People, Skills and Talent of Business Growth Hub

Now lets say each member of the team is trained, developed and trusted to make ten big ticket decisions every day. That’s fifty meaningful decisions per day. 2.5x as many as the team could previously make and if you add in the twenty the leader is capable of 3.5x as many.

It’s a very simplified scenario, but I hope it illustrates the point that many organisations and the teams they are comprised of are not as efficient as they could be because leaders become choke points for decision making.

The second thing to consider is that members of the team might be ‘closer to the coal face than the leader and the assumption that managers, by dint of being more senior on the org chart automatically make more effective calls. Not necessarily true.

Decision making bottlenecks slow things down and as the old saying goes, time is money. Centralised decision making within teams adds to the cost of business.

How to drive decision making down into teams and increase the velocity of work? It’s a two-sided coin.

Leaders have to work on their ability to delegate effectively and team members must be developed to the point where leaders trust them to make progressively more important decisions.


In Professional Development


This article was written solely by the identified authors and/or organisations. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and/or organisation – not those of the #HereForBusiness campaign or GC Business Growth Hub.  

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