Making Decisions

Author: Paul Henriques in: Business Solutions

Making Decisions

August 25, 2023

It was never a black and white world but it sure felt like it. Things were clear. Decisions were obvious. Slowly, however, business decisions are a progressive shade of gray with an increase in complexity and traffic. Between a glut of data that needs to be sifted through and a world in a state of flux, the decisions you make as a business leader are as important as ever while making those decisions has never been this complex. You spent a lot of time making decisions that are for the betterment of your company. Making those decisions often means reviewing reports, consulting with stakeholders, and attending meetings. With all the time spent on the process, making the right decision sooner is quickly becoming a financial problem that needs to be address.

There are three ways to decrease the time spent on decisions while improving the positive results from any decision you make:

  • Meetings
  • Delegation
  • Data

Better Decisions through Meetings

Getting feedback from all interested parties in a collaborative setting is often a great step in the decision-making process. Even though the meeting has at times received a bad reputation from those that feel they are not productive or instructive, the truth is that a well-run meeting can be an excellent tool for any company.

But for meetings to be a benefit to a decision, sometimes your company culture has to evolve to allow for productive meetings to happen. A meeting should be a relatively safe space for ideas and disagreements where your leaders aren’t rewarded for what they do during the meeting but what results they can bring to what was discussed. An example of actions and behaviours to avoid in meetings include:

  • Firefighting is often a symptom of a team that is overwhelmed by their workload and no longer have the capability to establish priorities but rather run from place to place ‘putting out fires’
  • Overcommitment is a symptom of executives that just want to look good for their superiors by appearing to be hard-working go-getters so they take on all tasks even though there is no way their teams can complete the objectives in time, on budget, or up to requirements
  • Noncommitment is when executives agree to the decision while in the meeting but do not perform the actions required of them to ensure the decision is a success
  • Avoidance is when the meeting attendees are fearful or unsure of the consequences of either speaking against an idea or do not know how positive results will improve their teams

If you find that your meetings often suffer from one or more of these issues, you may have an issue with the corporate culture around meetings and accountability. Some of the tools that you can use to improve your meetings include:

  • Meeting Discipline – Maintain a must-have list of behaviours and other rules that all persons must to their best to adhere to during meetings, such as punctuality, number of participants, diversity of the participants, etc
  • Clear and Present – All attendees should have a clearly defined role for the upcoming decision and be engaged in the meeting and, when it is their turn to present, they should be clear on their ideas and decisions
  • Goal Reminders – consider starting the decision meeting by reminding participants of the overall organizational goals the meeting supports, in order to reframe the subsequent discussions
  • Bite-sized – Break down complex processes into smaller, key decisions
  • Visible Metrics – Clearly define the inputs and outputs for each process with a specific person responsible
  • Devils Advocate – Assign teams to argue the case, one for, one against a decision as a way to find unseen issues that may arise
  • Outside the Box – Get team leaders of business units, regions, or functions to examine the decision from outside their own point of view
  • Premortem – Start by assuming the initiative in question turned out to be a failure, and then work back for likely explanations as to what made it fail so you can understand where you can improve your operations to ensure that failure doesn’t happen
  • Attendance – Meetings will have a correct number of participants, which is found with experience. Too few or too many and you can harm the quality of the decision, or the time to take it. Having a diverse group in attendance while limiting voters can give you the best of both worlds with a good number of representatives while keeping the number of decision-makers down.

Not all tools will work for all meetings. For example, a pricing decision meeting will require different tools that a meeting to decide on international expansion. However, keeping certain habits from the more common meetings will help improve decision making on the more important but more infrequent meetings.

When it comes to meetings, your goal should be to look at all the assumed ideas and biases, along with alternative actions, that help improve your information in a way that shows you the flaws in your original decision. To do this, you must promote a safe space for disagreements and doubts. Productive debate can help your teams build trust in one another by allowing discussions to take place regardless of the hierarchy.

Better Decisions through Delegation

Not all decisions have to be made at the top. Learning to delegate and build a delegation-friendly culture that consists of mentoring and monitoring can have great benefits to your decision-making by placing the power to choose at the hands of those that will be most affected. The added benefit here is that those most directly responsible are often the people that know the most about the subject matter, meaning that their idea on those small day-to-day decisions will likely carry more weight and be the best one at the time.

Creating this culture means that your senior leadership has to learn to let go and engage in constructive dialogues with their subordinates. The goal is to encourage their mentees to look for help and to make mistakes. With proper monitoring, the guiding hand of the mentor can be better felt and not seen, so as to ensure the self-confidence of the new decision-makers grows. As time progresses, the senior leaders can have an ever-decreasing input on these regular actions. To improve the delegated decisions, you can start by empowering your staff with:

  • Strategy – Having a well-defined and understood strategy for your business ensures that your decision-makers know the goal of the firm and allows them to understand what decisions they can make that will help ensure they are moving toward that goal. To ensure your strategy is being followed, specify the end-goal and add regular touchpoints to the schedule to ensure the decisions are in line with that goal.
  • Hierarchy – Ensure that your decision-makers understand who the report to and what they are responsible for. This ensures they know who to go to for help and who can provide inputs into their decisions.
  • Mentoring – Help subordinates by encouraging decision-making skills like risk analysis, performance assessment, and problem solving. Have your managers and senior leaders spend time to coach and upskill your decision-makers. This also gives you the added benefit of increasing your in-house promotion pool and retention rate.

Better Decisions through Data

One of the benefits to the glut of data from all the IT systems being put in place at the modern manufactory is that it exists. However, to use it you need to know how to use it. When it comes to data in a manufacturing shop, your best option on tools to make sense of the information available to you is a Manufacturing ERP, or MERP. A top-of-the-line MERP takes the muddled puzzle of data that you are currently collecting and provides it to you in an easy to read and easy to understand format when you need it. Your data is presented in multiple ways, such as:

  • Reports – An MERP will have detailed and summary reports that will give you an up-to-date picture of how your firm is performing at all your important metrics.
  • Dashboards – For decades dashboards have been a staple at all levels of management. An MERP will provide you with easy to setup dashboards that show you regularly updated information on how your processes are working. And with machine monitoring in place, updates from your shop floor will instantly flow to the required decision-makers.
  • Notifications – Another benefit to an MERP, especially when paired with machine monitoring, is that you can receive automatic notifications whenever certain indicators are met at your shop. With the notifications, your decision-makers will be in the know sooner of what is happening and can make a decision sooner.


Agree/ Disagree? Tell us what you think below!


  • Paul Henriques

    Paul Henriques is the current Manager for the Documentation and Training team at OnRamp Solutions Inc. Paul has over 15 years of experience in writing training material and documentation for various software companies. Having had to learn OnRamp ERP to better document it’s features and write training material; Paul is constantly stunned by the amount of thought that goes into each feature and the capabilities that are within the program, with features for all the various business units of a manufactory. Paul spends most of his free time keeping up to date on all the latest news and best practices for the manufacturing sector. Paul’s favorite manufacturing quote: “There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.” – Henry Ford

Leave a Comment


Let Our Experts Answer Your Questions

For more information about how OnRamp ERP software can add value to your business fill in the contact form below. A member of our support team will contact you within 1 business day to discuss any questions you have.

    or call us now!
    +1 (905) 901-5020

    Start the collaboration with us while figuring out the best solution based on your needs.

    Head Office : 10114 ON-26 Unit 2, Collingwood, ON L9Y 3Z1 ,
    Location Icon
    View on Google map