Your business’s overall performance is the culmination of many smaller decisions made by employees over the course of days, weeks months and years. Before there can be results, there must be analysis and action. So, it makes sense organizations today are always considering how to instill better decision-making and collaboration in the workplace—constantly looking for ways to give decision-makers at all levels the information they need to make wise choices. (Mohamed Hassan/Pixabay)
The goal? Making business outcomes as favorable as possible. The benefits of doing so?
Increased revenue, decreased operational efficiencies and the cultivation of a sustainable communication-centric culture.
Communicate Expectations, Support Collaboration
The best decision-making structures allow people to avoid “turf battles” that crop up when they’re hung up on “decision rights and control.” A truly collaborative environment requires people to be comfortable working together for a greater collective purpose.
This is the inverse of a culture of competition—people seeking credit for their own contributions rather than operating as part of a bigger whole. First, people need to understand their roles within the bigger picture. Then they need to understand how their roles intertwine with others’.
People learn to operate competitively or collaboratively based on the feedback they receive. Try rewarding people for working with other teams to strengthen decision-making. Make collaboration part of the rubric upon which you grade performance. Point out instances in which someone did a great job working with another individual or team to accomplish an objective. Avoid rewarding people for “cut-throat” antics that help them get ahead, regardless of the impact on colleagues and culture.
Give Everyone Access to a Single Source of Truth
Have you ever tried to collaborate with someone only to find it felt like you were speaking different languages? True cooperation necessitates everyone be on the same page. Put it this way: It’s going to be hard, or impossible, to choose the best course of action if everyone involved is working from differing reports and insights.
Consider how your company currently handles business intelligence. Are you giving employees easy access to a single source of truth? Making an interactive, embedded analytics dashboard like ThoughtSpot’s available to all users throughout an organization lets them ask questions and create charts based on stored data in seconds. And you can rest assured everyone—from marketing to HR; leadership to sales—is generating and sharing insights based on the same source data. Embedded dashboards also allow people to access them through regular workflows like a company portal or an oft-used business application.
Establish Your Decision-Making Structure
People throughout an organization look to leaders’ actions and attitudes to assess how to approach collaboration. However, this doesn’t mean companies need to pigeonhole employees into abiding by a strict top-down hierarchy within which leaders hand down decisions to subordinates. It also doesn’t mean companies need to remove all boundaries, creating a free-for-all environment which can leave employees wondering about their roles and jurisdictions.
Managers and executives can and should lead by example. For instance, if your company implements an open-door policy, make sure leaders do indeed have their doors open—figuratively and literally. Encourage leaders to ask for input often rather than operating behind closed doors. Employees will take their cues from how higher-ups act, so normalizing sharing and communicating goes a long way toward building a foundation.
Better decision-making and collaboration starts with culture. People have to feel comfortable asking questions and offering suggestions and will look to leaders for examples on how to act. Employees also excel when they have the tools to get and share insights based on the same original data, driving smarter decision-making all around.