How winning organizations make decisions

(...) These organizations have adopted a few foundational best practices that support good decision making across all three decision types:

  1. Make decisions at the right level. When respondents say decisions are made at the right level—which, in many cases, means delegating decisions down to lower levels of the organization—they are 6.8 times more likely to be part of a winning company. This result is closely related to another finding: both high-quality decisions and quick ones are much more common at organizations with fewer reporting layers.

  2. Focus relentlessly on enterprise-level value. It might seem intuitive, but only 41 percent of respondents say their organizations’ decisions align with the corporate strategy and that they allocate human and financial resources toward high-value projects. Those that do focus on enterprise-level value in this way are much more likely (2.9 times) than others to be a winner.

  3. Get commitment from the relevant stakeholders. The winning organizations also build commitment to executing decisions once they are made, especially among the people who are ultimately accountable for a given decision. When respondents say their companies are committed to execution—which requires that accountable stakeholders know the decision process was robust and that these people were involved in a meaningful way—they are 6.8 times more likely to be at winning companies. While fostering commitment can mean involving more people and getting more buy-in, that doesn’t mean companies have to compromise on speed. Neither of those actions necessarily requires giving everyone a vote or requiring unanimous agreement, which could slow a decision.

(..) What’s more, we found that the effects of these practices on success are cumulative. When companies follow more of the foundational practices and those that are decision specific, the chance of being a winner is much higher. With delegated decisions, for instance, respondents are 1.7 times as likely to say their organizations are winners if they follow both types of best practices than if they follow only the foundational ones.

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