UCL School of Management

18 March 2021

Optimising decision-making processes in business

As we emerge from the COVID-world, businesses across all industries face uncertainty and effective decision-making is more important than ever. Speaking to HR Magazine, UCL School of Management’s Joshua Becker shared insights from his extensive experience as a researcher and practitioner in decision making and group facilitation to explain why decision-makers don’t need to be lone heroes, instead, they should rely on their teams.

Becker says HR managers and business leaders should seek to harness the diversity of ideas that employees bring to the table by facilitating constructive idea generation and collaborative working to maximise the power of collective intelligence.

Facilitating these conversations requires careful management, but the trick is realising that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It is important to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard, those that are naturally more talkative do not dominate, and that diversity is respected, particularly when people from different teams come together to generate more innovative ideas. But it’s this point, where people from different teams can be paired together, that success can be found by breaking team members out of their usual silos and allowing them to have conversations they never normally would.

He adds that while it’s easy to select the first good idea the group comes up with, it’s really important it isn’t chosen immediately. This will push teams to generate a whole new set of ideas even when they think they’re out of steam.

How should leaders manage the process? Becker says they key for businesses to manage decision-making processes in a collaborative manner is digital technology. Messaging platforms like Zoom and WhatsApp allow remote communications and offer features to create subgroups or set-up break out rooms that foster a culture of independent thinking and generating diverse ideas. 

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Last updated Friday, 19 March 2021