Identify Bottlenecks, map your execution
“Speedy execution is the mother of good fortune,” a Danish proverb exhorts (according to the internet).
As the industry landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade – lengthy processes, micromanagement and decision making by consensus tolls a death knell to current organizations operating in an environment that has companies lasting a mere 14 years in the Fortune 100 before toppling. So it is no surprise that quick execution is a standing metric most organizations hold themselves rigidly accountable to.
Yet speedy execution is an output of a number of variables, many of them within the span of control of leadership, and several outside of it. Are the right people in the right positions? Do the people have the information they need to do their jobs? What other information do they need that they’re not getting? Are they empowered? Are decision making rights at the appropriate level? Is there a process in place that is easily digested, clearly defined and holistically understood? These are among just a few of the basic questions leadership asks itself.
Network analysis helps measure the intangibles – the pieces outside the direct understanding of senior leadership. Network analysis measures the perception within an organization of which leaders own which decision. It measures perceptions of teams of micro management, provides context behind delayed projects or processes and ultimately shows a decision making landscape that can embolden leaders to make the tweaks they need to be more effective at execution. It allows leaders to understand if they’re leveraging their people effectively – and giving the right people the right level of decision making.
In network analysis studies of decision making speed and perception, there is normally a tight coupling with peoples perceptions of information requirements needed for decisions. We’ll see slow decision making issues stem from a concern at lower levels that they don’t have the appropriate information to make a decision…so they’ll push up a level to their manager. Instead of micro management, the root cause issue is communication or lack of information needed for collaboration. People tend to be risk-adverse if they don’t feel they have the appropriate information to make a good decision.
*To manage collaboration, pay attention to four points of execution (Source: Harvard Business Review, Alia Crocker, Rob Cross and Heidi K. Gardner)
Decision making network analysis studies also provide interesting insight into the environment that mid-level management grapples with. Anyone that has picked up a trade article in the past two years understands that “Psychological Safety” and a psychologically safe environment drives everything from innovation, risk taking, to speedy decision making. An output of some decision making network analysis studies illuminate psychological safety areas of opportunity, more specifically, it illuminates areas where employees have a greater perception that “getting a decision wrong” equals subsequent penalization. The natural output of an environment where every decision has to be 100% perfect with 100% of perfect data backing it, causes decisions to be delayed, or once again pushed to a more senior level, which generates significant delays for projects and timelines.
Decision speed and placement is one of the easiest things to measure in network analysis studies. Putting key decision making processes like RASCI/DACI models in place is a great starting point -but augmenting it with an understanding of the landscape in which decisions are made, and perceptions as to who makes them, arms leaders with a way to get to the ever-present goal of speedy execution.