When your job relies on delivering day-to-day or month-to-month success at your firm, one of the biggest drivers of success is knowing when and how to make a decision. Though many things go into this—the right information, a well-supported decision system, and a big-picture view of how factor x affects factor y, sometimes, you can’t get bogged down in details.
This is a challenging concept for many controllers, who, after all, have grown up in the risk-averse world of accounting. This is an area where the word creative is associated with Enron’s ‘creative accounting’ and an area where process and analysis is a core competency.
Too often, you spend time mulling things over, trying to have more than enough information to justify a decision.
Unfortunately, this is not a growth mindset. Even at smaller companies, many companies get caught up ironing out their decisions, crippling the nimbleness and aggressiveness they need to grow.
Seven Core Focuses for Decision-Oriented Thinking
According to Cleverpop research, there are 7 core areas to evaluate how decision-oriented a firm is. While high-performing controllers are empowered, those who are stuck in the past often end up paralyzed when it comes time to choose. Here are the seven areas you need to focus on and the steps to increase performance:
- Bias For Action: A bias for action focuses on how people behave when they face their own decisions and when other people make decisions that affect their work. Companies who perform well focus on empowering decision makers, who help leaders to decide in the face of risk, and who can overcome disagreements to act.
- Broad Perspective: Decisions need to have the right information, and in this, leaders need a broad perspective regarding their choices. In this, high-performing companies can facilitate communication and actively include input from a wide range of people.
- Just-Right Analysis: Just-right analysis happens when decisions are made with enough study to avoid reckless shots from the hip but not so much that decisions are held back by analysis paralysis. In this, success is built on balance, and those who can avoid ‘analysis gaps’ can succeed.
- Fast & Efficient Process: A fast and efficient decision process gathers input and reaches conclusions quickly with minimal wasted effort. In high performing organizations, decisions are made as fast as possible, and at least as fast as the competition and are reached without excessive meetings and discussion.
- Clear Communication: You can’t get lost in emails. Clear communication is about making sure people are informed of and understand all relevant decisions that affect their work.
- Aligned Execution: Even if a decision is made, you need to put it into action. Aligned execution means that people consistently follow through on decisions that are aligned with shared business goals. Decisions need to align with broader goals and people need to follow through to succeed.
- Effective Feedback Loops: Effective feedback loops help keep good decisions on track while quickly fixing bad decisions when they arise. When something goes right—or wrong—high-performing companies can act quickly to pivot. The most innovative companies have well-tuned feedback loops that reinforce firm commitments while also driving quick reactions to new information or missed expectations.
Get to know more about how companies succeed and how to benchmark yourself by reading the entire whitepaper.
Expand Your Skills as a Controller with the Controller’s Council
There are many traits and skills needed to succeed at the head of a finance department, just one of which is decisiveness. If you’re looking to broaden your skills and establish traits for success, the Controller’s Council is here to help.