There’s no doubt about it — on a daily basis we are faced with decisions, no matter how small they may be. And I’m not just talking about which biscuits to choose from at the supermarket, I’m talking about those decisions we face in an insight setting, where the choice we make can potentially impact our research, our outcomes, time, deadlines…and all of those involved. Scary, right?!
With this in mind, it’s important to find ways to accelerate the decision-making process. Let’s think about some ways in which we can do this…
Now more than ever it’s important to make use of verbal/video conferencing tools to stay connected to both your internal team members and your clients/stakeholders. Communication allows you to talk through a decision rather than just thinking it through in your head — and by saying it loud it can make you see things clearer!
Besides, we’re all partial to an email or two. Emails can sometimes slow things down with the waiting in-between, the back and forward… which can lead to decisions being drawn out. Through regular verbal communication, or even just picking up the phone instead of typing out your thoughts, decisions quickly become clear and easier to make. The element of verbal discussion rather than written adds a human twist with tone and those spontaneous questions and prompting.
We make many decisions on a daily basis, some warrenting more consideration than others — but what happens when you don’t have the time necessary for an important decision? How do we speed up the decision-making process?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your team members, too. As explained by my colleague Sammy in her blog, in a working environment it is essential to create a culture where people feel comfortable to ask questions. Asking questions is something we can sometimes neglect in the decision-making process, when yet by getting a second opinion or even group opinion, it can speed up the decision-making process and lead to the desired outcome. Making a decision together will allow you to explore all avenues that you might not have thought about, as well as speed up the decision-making process at the same time. The collective knowledge and understanding of a team will certainly give a boost in many decisions you face. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and guidance on decisions. Don’t be afraid to admit if you are unsure about something. Accelerate the decision-making process by coming together as a team.
Another way to stay connected, but rather to insights than people, is to create a company-wide accessible datastore, where all data and insights generated from market research is held. This continuous access to a datastore like this will improve the speed of decision-making through easier and instant access to the information needed to make decisions — and also reduce the cost of repeated research conducted on the same topic at different times around the business.
Don’t just consider the ‘nows’ — think ahead to the end results/outcome of your research in order to speed things up earlier on. Ask yourself, what do you want the outcome to be? What result do you want to find? How will you deliver the findings?
Another great way to plan ahead, is to prepare yourself in more ways than one so that you make life easier for yourself when things don’t go to plan — for example, get a clear idea on the insight topic. Decisions are made quicker when there is a greater level of understanding. That greater level of understanding leads to confidence, resulting in decisions made more swiftly.
Plan out a timeline carefully (and realistically!), and make predictions of ‘what ifs’ way in advance. For example, you might predict that one stage of the insight process may take a while due to uncontrollable factors. All in all, ensure to give enough time for each stage in the insight process, and allow room for glitches.
The next time you make a decision, take a moment to notice how you came to the decision — the more you are aware of your thought process, the faster you’ll be able to speed up the big decisions without sacrificing quality.
Consider your research tools and methods carefully. It’s often one of the important decisions in insight, which tool(s) will I use? Which tool(s) will get me the results I need in the quickest amount of time? Weighing up and deciding this early on can be a huge way to ensure your insight runs quickly and smoothly. Our new tool — Focus GroupMR is the new evolution of our focus group tool, developed to include a video feature that enables researchers to chat to participants face-to-face online, to gather that all-important in-the-moment insight. Find out more about our new tool here!
Involving Key People in the Decision-Making Process
As much as it is good to involve your teammates in the decision-making process, it’s important to involve the right people too — “right” here defined as those who have relevant knowledge to enable you to make the best decision in the moment.
It is imperative therefore, to keep stakeholders/clients involved and updated as much as possible, so that they feel that they are a part of the whole process from start to finish, and not just the end result. It’s easy to go full steam ahead when you’re in the zone and racing to get something done, but always consider those who will be involved in the final outcome of the insight as to their thoughts and feelings. Again, communication is key!
We make thousands of decisions every single day, but some we give more consideration than others. If you make one conscious decision today, catch a moment to notice how you make that decision and consider those factors above.
And keep in mind that, although swift decision making is ideal — consider the flip side, in that some decisions really do need extra careful attention and thought. What are the long-term implications? Who will be affected?
The original version of this article appeared on the FlexMR Insight Blog and can be accessed here.