Today’s leaders have an overwhelming amount of information available to them. You can probably imagine the stacks of reports, excel files, emails and documents taking up your computers storage space. Or, more realistically, taking up your desk space. You may have worked hard to organize the information neatly into a folder or you may have a dashboard stuffed with ‘tasks’ and charts. However, as the information collects the ability to make fast and effective business decisions diminishes.
Three common challenges to effectively making decisions are:
- Too much information
- Ineffective methods of visualization
- Lack of empowerment to make decisions
“Information is not knowledge.” ― Albert Einstein
1) Too much information
More data does not always mean more knowledge. When you have too much information it can deplete your ability to make informed decisions. Imagine that you are staring at a cash receivables report with twenty rows of numbers. Can you tell what the trends are? What if you have ten documents regarding compliance? Can you tell if you are really compliant?
NO! Of course not. Unless you have a photographic memory the streams and lines will turn into a blur.
2) Ineffective Methods of Visualization
In order to overcome the problem of too much information we will often create beautiful pie charges or graphs with various lines. I am sure you can imagine tilting your head trying to figure out what some of these graphs are explaining! What is most important is that the information you are provided assist you in making actionable decisions. The visualization should be efficient and effective at showing the company and the leaders what the burning problems are, so that they can take meaningful action.
“The purpose of visualization is insight, not pictures.” Ben Shneiderman
A beautiful graph really doesn’t benefit a company, leader, or decision maker if it doesn’t provide useful information and quick and easy insight! And more importantly, it should be actionable.
3) Empowerment to Make Decisions
In addition to the amount of information or the visualization a more practical challenge in large companies is the hierarchy of decision making. In some organizations you can’t send an email without asking permission let alone make important business decisions.
The inability to make important decisions can be crippling to an organizations success. Companies need to empower decision making to the right person AND provide these persons with the tools necessary to make decisions.
Solutions to overcome the challenges of Making Decisions
Collecting more data is only beneficial if the data provides answers to specific questions. We suggest that the manager gather and store the information that is relevant to their KPI’s. Today, there are several programs, like smartcockpit, that allow leaders to select what information they need and it is then funneled into their dashboard or storage center.
Remember that asking the right questions and knowing what you are looking for is incredibly important to identifying what information you need!
When it comes to charts and graphs we understand that sometimes you will choose to create the elaborate pie chart, line graph, or 3D multi-colored sparkling graph. However, for making every day decisions we suggest you choose a program that allows you to make simple and readable graphs. This will help you to quickly identify the burning points and make actionable decisions!