Decision-Making Waste – What is it and how to prevent it?

Decision-Making Waste – What is it and how to prevent it?

One phenomenon business leaders should be familiar with is decision-making waste.

It's an inefficiency that stems from employees delegating decisions to their managers rather than making those decisions themselves.

If you’re a manager, think about the kinds of decisions and problems you've dealt with recently. How many of those should’ve been solved by the person who brought them to you?

Plenty of managers we talk to say that their employees ask a lot questions that could be easily answered by these employees, if only they had better access to data and some basic data literacy skills.

Problems with Decision-Making Waste

When a middle manager, or an executive, is forced to make decisions that could be made by a lower level manager, it creates a few issues:

  1. It takes up the time of senior folks, who should be focusing on more strategic, big-picture issues and not getting involved in small issues that could be handled just fine by lower levels within the organization.
  1. Frontline workers lose control and empowerment over their day-to-day work because the manager is the one making all the decisions and solving all the problems.

We call this ‘decision-making waste’ because the organization is using up its decision capacity on things that aren't adding enough value.

What can be done to prevent this?

To drive efficiency, managers need to aim to push decisions of this kind closer to the frontline, where employees are capable of making the vast majority of decisions without external assistance.

Sounds simple, right? Well, not so much.

A lot of managers want to get involved in the nitty-gritty details, but this type of culture tends to foster unwanted dependency, as now employees will come to that manager to answer ALL of their questions, instead of thinking things through on their own.

Furthermore, such a culture can create the feeling that employees aren't trusted by their managers, which historically leads to higher employee turnover rates.

So what can we do to push decision-making down to the right level? 

  1. Culture – Managers need to proactively push for frontline empowerment. Communicating to employees that they are expected to solve problems autonomously will change their attitude towards decision-making and problem-solving.
  1. Tools – If our objective is to transform employees into empowered decision-makers, it’s then our duty to provide them with a no-code, self-serve analytics solution to help them back up their ideas, theories, and decisions with hard corporate data.

Making these fine-tunes to your decision-making strategy can cultivate an empowered workforce that no longer has to constantly involve senior managers, all while knowing they’re using reliable corporate data to lead their decisions.

Following these recommendations, you can expect to see efficiency go up and people feel more capable and confident – allowing senior management to focus on decisions that will propel the entire team’s performance forward.

Learn more about how Forwrd can help you and your team to establish a data-driven culture that enables employees to access the data they need, develop actionable business predictions, and make informed decisions that drive efficiency and results. 

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