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Too many decisions, too little time

Learn why time to decision is becoming a key success metric for business and how it can improve profitability.

Published by Orgvue 

Crossroad signpost saying this way, that way, the other way concept for business decision making

In our first article in this series, we introduced you to our Time to Decision research. We partnered with Vanson Bourne to try to understand whether faster business decisions can improve profit. And if so, what does it take to make better decisions more quickly?

We found that large organizations with access to the right data make faster decisions, which correlates with 16% higher gross annual profits when compared to businesses that are slower off the mark.

But as well as uncovering an important link between decision making and profit, the research highlighted another increasingly important factor in the decision-making process: time.

More decisions and higher stakes

A staggering 92% of survey respondents across the US and UK agree that time to decision is a key success metric for business. But with volume and pressure at an all-time high, 74% said they’d regretted making a business decision too slowly, with two fifths of that number saying the hesitation affected the overall impact of the decision.

Not only did the research show that more decisions were being made in 2020 than ever before, but the majority of respondents (95%) agreed these decisions required more consideration and analysis. The impact? The weight of more decisions and the time required to analyze the data before making them is causing business leaders to hesitate. Over half (55%) of respondents reported that they hesitated when making a decision in the past year.

Our data suggests that uncertainty, brought on by events such as Brexit and the Coronavirus pandemic, has knocked business confidence. And with uncertainty set to stay for some time, it’s more important than ever that business leaders find a way to make better decisions faster.

How can businesses make faster decisions?

Slick modeling and workforce planning tools are essential for organizations to scenario plan and think about the future. It’s clear from our research that business leaders are desperate for more time for planning decision making. In fact, 61% of respondents said they needed more time to make workforce planning decisions alone.

New technology is the biggest reason respondents feel they need more time to make decisions, because it creates an expectation for immediate answers. HR leaders seem to bear most of the burden here (55%) while finance leaders appeared to be the least impacted (48%).

Also, the pace of change within organizations is of great concern to HR leaders, with over half reporting they’d felt the impact of the accelerated change in the way they work.

Competitive market conditions is the second reason for needing more time to make decisions and was of most concern to finance departments (47%), who felt that taking too long to make decisions was a risk organizations couldn’t afford.

Businesses rely on constant shaping, molding and finessing of their operating model to stay ahead of the competition, especially during a time of economic downturn. Alongside having the right data, making sure all departments have access to this data will provide the clearest picture of business health and will help to break down siloes.

Faster decisions equals more successful businesses

With the understanding that time to decision is a key success metric, cutting down time and avoiding hesitation where possible will be instrumental in how businesses grow and survive in moments of uncertainty.

Today, organizations face some of the most challenging times ever and responsibility falls firmly on the business leaders of the world to make faster decisions around strategy, operations and and workforce.

In our next article in the Time to Decision series, we’ll explore how leaders can lean into a forward-thinking approach to decision making and overcome hesitation. We’ll discuss the importance of switching mindsets from ‘what now’ to ‘what if’, so you can plan and make quicker, more confident decisions in the months ahead.

Read previous…

We surveyed 750 senior business leaders in the US and UK to find out what factors influence organizational decision-making and how that correlates to better business performance.

Learn more about organizational design

Organizational design is growing in prominence with every passing year. In a world derailed by geopolitics, market forces and economic volatility, organizations have to find ways to adapt quickly. Read our essential guide to learn about the foundational concepts of organizational design and how to put theory into practice successfully.