HR Strategy Partner General How Do Your Decis...
How Do Your Decisions Impact Your Organizational Culture?
By Traci Scherck, MPA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

How do you make decisions? Do you make decisions based on a gut feeling or do you make decisions based on very specific objective reasons for it?

So often we have to give ourselves permission to make a choice and that choice is always - what is that thing that we are making.

Knowing how we make decisions naturally will really key us into how we can best serve inside of our organizations and how we need to manage as leaders. Curious? Take the PI assessment to see your E Drive and how you make decisions.

There are times that we are being very objective by looking at what are the consequences and what does this look like versus being subjective. Our situations that we find ourselves in will change this, however, knowing what our natural inclinations are will help us to know how we make decisions and what we need to do to prepare ourselves for that.

Think about the following: How do you naturally make decisions inside your organization? How does that impact how you attract and retain staff?

Decision making impacts the culture inside of your organization as we attract and retain staff to our organization.

According to a Forbes Article, individuals are more likely to be frustrated about a lack of clarity in the decision-making process, ill-defined roles, poor communication, and a myriad of challenges along these lines. The opposite is also true. When we have really good decision making happening inside of organizations, people feel engaged because there are open lines of communication, there is clarity in what needs to be done, and there is purpose in the work and trust in the leaders and peers around them.

According to a McKinsey Article, 20% of respondents say that their organization excels at the decision making process. What about the other 80%?

Most organizations make a trade-off between velocity (how fast they are going to make that decision) and the quality of the decision (meaning was that a good decision?).

Faster decisions tend to be a higher quality. Suggesting that speed does not undercut the merit of a given decision. However, good decision-making practices tend to yield decisions that are both high in quality and made quickly.

As you think about how you attract and retain individuals inside of your organization, how do you make those decisions so that you can decrease frustration?
When organizations have leaders who never make decisions it causes employees to become stuck, and they become unable to move forward in their work. This frustration leads individuals to start looking at other opportunities for employment because they do not feel that they can have an impact in their work or that their voice is not being heard.

How are you making decisions inside of your organization?

When looking at the decision-making process in your organization we need to look at:
  1. Ensuring that we are making the decisions at the right level. (Does an executive always need to make the decisions?)
  2. Decisions should be made at the lowest level possible so that individuals have the information that they need to make those decisions, but they also are given the trust and autonomy to do that.

41% of respondents say that their organization’s decisions align with the corporate strategy and that they allocate human financial resources for high value projects.
What is your business strategy? When you know what your business strategy is and what your business outcomes are, then you can make decisions that allow you to take that business strategy and implement it into creating those amazing business outcomes. We call this a People Strategy!

Yet, you must have that strategy in place to make those really great decisions and to ensure that those decisions actually matter. When we are making decisions, we need to ask ourselves:
  1. Are we making these decisions at the lowest level possible inside the organization?
  2. Do those decisions align with what the organization is here to do? Value alignment and strategy alignment are so important. Otherwise, we end up with scope creep going out in 20 different directions that do not make sense to get us our business results. If we do not have alignment then we can end up with frustration, we do not feel like we are making progress, and we are not specifically aligned.
  3. Commitment to the relative stakeholders, we want to ensure that we are executing on decisions once they are made, and we follow through with it all the way to the end.

We need to make sure that we have the individuals aligned and that we can actually implement these decisions. If we are just making decisions, changing our minds, making decisions, and changing our minds, again and again, then we are never getting to those specific outcomes.

How much time do we actually spend making decisions?

According to a Psychology Today, half of the respondents report spending more than 30% of their working time in decision making. More than ¼ spent the majority of their time on decision making. On average, respondents spent 37% of their time making decisions and more than ½ of this time was thought to be spent ineffectively.

Therefore, are we spending time to make decisions that are not being used to get us to the business outcomes inside of our organizations and how do we fix this?

How we fix this is to:
  1. Ensure that decisions are made at the lowest level possible.
  2. Ensure the decisions we are making tie back to the business strategy and they are specifically tied to the business outcomes.
  3. Ensure that we are committed to following through on those decisions and that we value those stakeholders inside of our organization.

These allow us to really see what is specifically happening. If we take forever to make decisions, it is typically based on fear. When we are basing decisions on fear, we are still making decisions and we are not moving those things forward.

Decision making does not just happen in our work lives. We also need to look at how we can balance careers and family obligations so that we do not feel ineffective in both. To do this we need to be honest with ourselves about where we are falling short.

When we are making decisions, we must pay attention to whether we are making it based on objective facts or based on gut. It is important to look at what is behind our lack of decision making and how do we specifically address that.

Then we can increase our employee engagement by ensuring that we are making decisions at the lowest level, we are paying attention to the individuals inside of the organization that this specifically impacts, and this is tied to what is important to the organization.

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