Monday, December 5, 2016

Collective Insight in Decision Making

Effective decision making, especially strategic decision-making, needs to search for collective insight.

Due to complex and change nature of the digital business ecosystem, more often than not, decision-making needs to take collaborative efforts and collective wisdom, brainstorm possible options and make alternative solutions. Decision-making today needs to take a systematic approach, but via nonlinear, collective thinking, the mix of analytics and intuition, and group contribution.



Consider and compare the advantages and disadvantages of all options: There is too often a tendency to take a one-size-fits-all approach to decision making, which includes a linear and static decision which commits to a singular path.  A decision is arguably a choice between two or more options. The greater majority of these options are circumstantially provided. The general principle is to select the best option, avoid vagueness or indecisiveness. The issue, however, that the human brain cannot do, is to do a comparative assessment of many decision criteria, both quantitative and subjective, concurrently across many options, initiatives or programs etc. Thus, it is important to take advantage of advanced decision tools. When leveraging the tool weighing tradeoffs, it's important that the team has determined the relative importance of each factor. So it is even more important to build a team with decision-effectiveness. Teams, especially with the heterogeneous team setting, work because they bring different perspectives and knowledge to the table. They help to balance out the biases that from which the poor decisions are made.

Collective insight is superior: Given the complexity and uncertainty of the digital business world and given the fallacies of individual decision-making, more often than not, lack of knowledge and scarcity of insight lead to poor decision-making, Isn't it time businesses moved to groups, teams, circles making the decision and being accountable? One interpretation of information may differ greatly from another interpretation of that same information. One alternative may have a lot more strengths than another, but all those strengths together may not be nearly as important as the one or two strengths that another alternative has. It is always beneficial to communication, interpretation and accuracy of overall results when multiple heads come together to interpret and define information sources and outcomes. The more engaged the business leader in accessing information and understanding where it is extracted and how it is compiled, the better and more understood the results.

The wisdom of crowds: It’s important to set principles, develop methods that engage the right people early in decision-making activity, in ways that collect sufficient information, "captured" innovative thinking and managed decisions and conflicts throughout the decision management cycle. Team decision works because they bring different perspectives and information to the table. They help balance out the biases that from which we all suffer. They help generate more of viable alternatives, resources, criteria, etc, all of which is shown to improve the quality of decisions. The more engaged the business decision-makers in accessing data and understanding where it is extracted and how it is compiled, the better and more understood the results.

It is important to understand digital organizations as socio-technical systems, people readily perceive organizations and projects requiring the confluence of multiple perspectives (people, process, and technology) to make great decisions. Effective decision making, especially strategic decision-making, needs to search for business insight, well blend both information and intuition; think fast and slow accordingly, and always prepare for some alternative solutions to invite diverse opinions and welcome collective wisdom.

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