What I realized is that most of our people see and distinguish as decisions only those that have a big impact . These are usually seen as the important decisions. You know, a decision that comes from a superior and is communicated in some sort of official medium like a meeting or an email.

After it is communicated and only then it’s usually perceived as a decision, making it look like it’s a rather short process. Also, I noticed that after the decision is made, there are lots of times when everyone is somehow relieved. Like something just finished, as in “oh that’s good, finally we decided about this, let’s celebrate”.

I think there’s more about a decision that this.

We see two important steps in a decision making process. First is documenting and debating and second is implementing.

Step 1 — Debating and making the decision

The action here is the process of gathering the information needed so that the decision maker can actually make a good decision. As documented as possible.

Step 2 — Implementing the decision

That is the most overlooked part but sadly it’s not less important than the decision itself. It’s actually the work put in by the team to make things happen. I liked the expression read once : it’s putting the meat on the bones.

What we’ve learned

After focusing the attention on the decision making process itself ,  we were surprised to find out that things were not actually going the ideal way in IntelligentBee.

The way I see it there are 2 speeds you want to have at the steps above. Slow and Fast.

Fast – Slow

If it’s Fast-Slow , it means that the debate and decision making is happening fast, and the implementation is slow. This results in quick decisions that are not always the correct ones due to lack of time for research. We’re already starting with half-chances of success here. And it’s getting even worse. After making the let’s-pray-this-is-a-good-one decision then here comes the implementation phase that starts late and happens slow. That kills the momentum, people forget why we’re doing the things we’re doing. They don’t usually perceive it as a whole, ruining the chance of success even more. In short, we don’t want to be there.

Fast – Fast

If it’s Fast-Fast  it means  that the debating and making the decision happens quickly and implementation fast. It may look we’re in a slightly different position, but actually we’re not. It’s because there was not enough time to make a good decision: gather all data, see alternatives, buy-in. As a result, the implementation will eventually be slow because the outcome desired was not thought over and the work needed to get there is often not estimated correctly.

Where you want to be: Slow – Fast

If you ever fired a rifle you know that the ready-steady-aim process should be a slow one if you want to hit the bullseye. You don’t actually want to have a cowboy shooting when you’re making decisions in your company.

The debating and making the decision should be a through step. All the options are carefully studied and debated. All people affected by the outcome are involved and committed.

The implementation step should be a lightning fast one. There was a time to research, a time to debate, a time for talks and analyzing. Now there is time to act. After lots of conflict, there is perfect alignment. Everyone is committed to execute as fast and as good as possible the decision that is now made. There is no room for changing minds and certainly no place to bring out the arguments used above, in the debating phase.

All team act as one and everyone is aware that what’s making a company stand out is not the speed at which they make decisions, but the speed and quality they execute against every decision made.