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Are Your Decisions Un-informed ? It’s time to make a change

Are Your Decisions Un-informed ? It’s time to make a change

For some reason. I’ve been seeing a lot of articles recently about using information for making decisions.

The first article titled “Releasing stats cuts death in hospitals’ in the Toronto Star  is about the death rates in hospitals going down because the rates are published publicly. The article says that because hospitals are now compared with other hospitals, it prompts each hospitals to investigate why they are high and make changes that reduce the rates.

In other words, the hospitals now know where they stand, and it they are doing poorly, they know it . They have information to make decisions and implement improvements.

This is exactly what benchmarking does for you, but it also helps to have more internal information as well that you can use to compare different offices, teams, individuals and even suppliers and contractors. When you see the results, you can find out who is excelling and identify what they are doing that others aren’t and ensure they adopt the practices. It isn’t just about comparing so you can punish, it’s to make improvements.

The kind of results found in the article should convince you that you need more information to make changes and decision.

The other article discusses the Auditor General’s report about the Ontario government, also from the Toronto Star. In the report, a lot of waste and inefficiency was found within the government. Are you surprised? The article outlined four key problems that were driving much of the waste and inefficiency, including information for decision making.

Here are the four key problems they found, along with my views on the issue. The key one is the last one.

  1. Challenges today are dramatically different from the past and will be increasingly complex in the future. - This is the case in almost every area of business. The modern Manager has to keep on-top of a broader range of issues, regulations, technologies and rapidly changing competition to do their job.
  2. The emphasis must change from new revenue sources to making the best uses of existing ones. – This translates to cost savings issues for most, particularly if you manage an area of your company’s business that doesn’t bring in revenue. While we chase the obvious (and sometimes easy) ways to cut costs, like putting pressure on suppliers, we sometimes miss areas where we can be more efficient and effective.
  3. Things must change from perpetuating old services and programs to solving current problems – This is a problem most managers have. More effort is needed to get ahead of issues instead of lagging issues, and we need to look at change, not just maintaining the status quo or “because that’s the way it’s always been done”
  4. Sound decision-making requires good information – This is actually one of the most important issues since many managers don’t have much information at their disposal to make good decisions with. More effort is required, along with good systems, to get and use information. Of course you need to be vigilant that you don’t simply track, collect and report so much data that you become swamped with numbers but don’t really have information you can use.

The interesting thing about these four issues is that these were the same four fundamental issues identified in a similar report issued 40 years ago. Seems things haven’t really changed much in government. Have they changed in your organization?

Do your part to make sure you have information to make decisions and implement change and improvements change.

Learn more about the broader business skills and issues, become a leader, take time out of the daily service delivery to develop strategy, get better information for analysis and decision making and most importantly, don’t just follow the status quo – make deliberate changes to improve results.

About Michel Theriault

Michel is the founder of Success Fuel for Managers. He is an author, speaker and consultant focusing on topics relevant to Managers and aspiring Managers in businesses of all sizes who want to get results, get attention, and get ahead. He is also a contributor to Forbes and AllBusiness Experts . Michel is available for speaking engagements, training and consulting. Connect with him or send an email.

Posted in: Decision Making

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