3 Ways to Empower Your Everyday Decision-Makers

The headlines dominating the tumultuous times we are navigating have one thing in common: as the pace of change quickens, more complex business challenges arise.

Despite the uncertain climate, we as leaders are continuously striving for the same thing: to wow our customers, to enable our employees to do their best work, to deliver for shareholders. If you manage people and control resources, you are in the decision-making business. And there are constantly new decisions that need to be made, fast. There are no easy answers and curling up in a ball is not an option.

Command and control organizations are outdated. The vast majority of decisions driving businesses today occur outside of the C-suite. Individual contributors in each department are at the helm of making critical business decisions. From a marketer refining an ad campaign based on performance, to a customer support specialist reviewing customer feedback data and surfacing a common pain point to solve, to an engineer being alerted to a user-reported bug –these are not C-suite problems, but they are what keep an organization running.

Here are three tactics to empower your vital everyday decision-makers with the autonomy to work where they perform best, with the human sentiment data they need to be successful.

1. Sew autonomy into the fabric of your workplace.

I read in a newsletter that although President Biden declared the pandemic “over” on a recent “60 Minutes,” when it comes to the future of work, we still have a big problem with COVID-19. I couldn’t agree more. Pre-pandemic normalcy in society has forever changed. The international shutdowns kickstarted a technology-enabled way of working we have all personally navigated these last few years.

My advice as we continue to forge a new path here? Build functional and flexible autonomy into the fabric of your workplace. Our most valuable employees demand the autonomy to do their jobs when, where, and how they see fit. The truly forward-thinking leaders will trust their employees and honor this wish.

When employees are empowered with autonomous decision making, performance skyrockets. Purposefully empower your everyday champion decision-makers with choice, and they will continue to show up with their best foot forward.

2. Data is great, but sentiment is gold.

We can agree the best-run businesses are data-driven. Collecting operational data is crucial to any company, but only focusing on activity metrics will leave a business flat-footed. The not so obvious side of this coin is collecting human sentiment. While data is supreme, sentiment — how employees, customers, and future customers feel — is the missing piece of the puzzle.

Collecting and analyzing sentiment at scale is traditionally challenging, but it can have a profound impact on business. In an ever-evolving world, embracing the full diversity of sentiment from both customers and employees is vital to informing real-time decisions. Whether that be keeping a close pulse on what your customers are thinking or providing clarity into how they (really) feel about your actions, the most innovative companies recognize important signals come from understanding real people, in real-time.

Businesses can set themselves apart by highlighting how the combination of data and human sentiment transforms business laggards into leaders. BCG said it best, “combining technology with flexibility, adaptability, and a comprehensive experience to humans is a superpower.”

Unite the best of technology with humanity, and the most impactful insights will come to life.

3. Real-time data, real-time decisions.

Consider how quickly the macro environment is changing: in January 2022, The Great Resignation was in full swing. Just a few short months later, employees saw layoffs, hiring freezes, and rescinded job offers. Oh, and remember the words “transitory inflation” from 2021? The Fed got a cold dose of reality when inflation came in smokin’ hot earlier this year. I’ll state the obvious: fresh data is required to make better decisions faster. Fresh data in real-time is your differentiator.

The corporate world and its employees have undergone an irreversible transformation. We have had a tough lesson on the consequences of not being nimble. Today, to keep pace you need to equip your decision-makers at the point of execution with speed.

I know of a customer experience leader at a leading audio electronics company that was frustrated with customer pain points that were difficult to assess, on top of stagnant NPS scores. By leveraging real-time data, the team was able to discover opportunities across logistics, customer service, and the online experience. Within days, not weeks, they pivoted and saw scores increase immediately, offsetting the higher cost with increased customer satisfaction and retention.

There is a looming assumption that pivoting a business successfully requires a lot of time planning. Wrong.

Arm your decision-makers with technology — such as AI/ML powered analytics — that gives them quick access to high quality sentiment data and your company will have the upper hand to seamlessly shift gear and continue momentum.

Companies are as prone to the butterfly effect as the weather is. Every decision made — no matter how big or small — can have long-lasting effects on a company’s entire ecosystem. Empower your everyday decision-makers and decision-making that truly moves the needle will become effortless.

https://www.informationweek.com/strategic-cio/3-ways-to-empower-your-everyday-decision-makers

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