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Making Better Business Decisions

Important Business Decisions Often Involve a High Level of Risk

All important business decisions impact one or more of the following company constituencies:

  • Shareholders/owners
  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Community
  • Government (local, state, federal, foreign)

Some of the many types of important business decisions include:

  1. Hiring and firing employees
  2. Organizational changes
  3. Compensation and employee benefit plan changes
  4. Vendor selection
  5. Product selection
  6. Product design
  7. Pricing
  8. Capital expenditures and investments
  9. Site location
  10. New product and marketing decisions
  11. Developing and approving new business processes and policies
  12. Mergers and acquisitions

Characteristics of most important business decisions:

  1. Usually several or many decision alternatives
  2. The best decision alternative is not usually clear, at least at first look
  3. There are many criteria that should be considered before making the decision
  4. Research is needed to learn about the decision alternatives
  5. Some of the decision criteria are more important than other criteria
  6. Some of the important information needed to make the decision is not available, or it can become available if time and resources are available to obtain the information
  7. Most business people do not have and do not use a defined, valid process for making important business decisions
  8. Often there are differences of opinion among key constituents about the decision outcome, sometimes based on preconceived perceptions and biases rather than on information

How people make important business decisions:

  1. Gut feel
  2. Shoot from the hip
  3. With their heart
  4. Use their head, but without adequate information
  5. Use their head, using appropriate sufficient information
  6. With input/collaboration from appropriate people
  7. Without input/collaboration from appropriate people
  8. Combination of above

What is needed to make informed decisions with a high probability of success:

  • Understand the issue
  • Gather as much pertinent information as possible including hard data from company data sources (databases, reports), and information, insight and perceptions from any of the following appropriate sources: employees, customers, suppliers, the community, shareholders/owners, etc.
  • Define valid decision alternatives
  • Define criteria to be used in evaluating each alternative
  • Weigh importance of each criteria
  • Make assumptions about each alternative and about the decision/business environment
  • Evaluate each criteria of each alternative
  • Quantify overall rating of each decision alternative
  • Compare and rank decision alternatives
  • Make the best possible decision based on research and the decision process

Risks and impact of making bad important business decisions include:

  • Significant financial loss
  • Negative impact on customers leading to lost customers and business
  • Negative impact on employees, leading to poor performance, quality problems, employee turnover, etc.
  • Negative impact on company reputation
  • Injuries to employees or customers
  • Costly law suits
  • Product recalls
  • Disruption to business
  • May force the company to go out of business

Using surveys to make better, more informed business decisions

Making better important business decisions often requires current information and insight from employees and customers. Quantisoft's employee opinion/satisfaction, customer satisfaction/opinion, business risk assessment and other surveys are a cost-effective way to gather information and insight for making important business decisions. By conducting these surveys on a periodic basis (e.g. annually), your organization's decision makers will have ready access to current information and insight for making many of your organization's important decisions. Where needed, Quantisoft designs and conducts specialized surveys of employees, customers, suppliers and other groups to gather the exact information and insight your organization needs to make better, informed important business decisions.
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