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Improve Decision-Making: Collaborate to Execute

January 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm PST

This is the last of a four-part series. The previous posts introduced decision-driven collaborationengagement, and evaluation.

Evolving your organization’s ideas around collaboration is an important element of connecting people and empowering them to work together to make better, more-informed decisions. Cisco IBSG calls this “Decision-Driven Collaboration” and outlines within it three core elements that build upon one another in decision making:

  • Collaborate to Engage: Identify key contributors, solicit input, share ideas.
  • Collaborate to EvaluateShape the matter to be decided, consider viable alternatives.
  • Collaborate to Execute: Make a clear decision, align relevant parties, put it into practice.

Execution is more effective when the context, rationale, success factors, expectations, dependencies, and so forth are transparent to those affected. As the IBSG report outlines, this level of transparency requires that leaders: Read More »

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Improve Decision-Making: Collaborate to Evaluate

January 15, 2013 at 7:30 am PST

This is the third of a four-part series. Parts 1 and 2 introduced decision-driven collaboration and engagement. The final post will explore the execution element.

Good strategic decision-making rarely involves the flipping of coins or rolling of dice, although such techniques can come in handy when the outcome defines nothing more than your dinner menu. Business decisions of larger impact require a process that incorporates deeper consideration and more detailed information. Cisco IBSG calls this “Decision-Driven Collaboration,” and emphasizes the need to improve decision-making by improving collaboration, connecting people and empowering them to work together more effectively. This incorporates three core elements that build upon one another: Read More »

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Improve Decision-Making: Collaborate to Engage

January 10, 2013 at 5:26 am PST

This is the second of a four-part series. Part I introduced decision-driven collaboration. Upcoming posts will explore evaluation and execution.

Better decisions don’t necessarily come from the existence of better information. The information is usually somewhere in the organization, but there's no benefit to the decision-making process unless people actually use it. Executives often don’t take full advantage of all the specialized knowledge that employees can contribute. Maybe they don’t know the information is there. Maybe they know it must be somewhere, but don’t know how to get it. Or, well, maybe they’re just not looking for it in the first place.

Improving the decision-making process comes as a result of evolving ideas around collaboration and by connecting people and empowering them to work together. Cisco IBSG calls this “Decision-Driven Collaboration” and outlines three core elements that build upon one another in the decision process:

  • Collaborate to Engage: Identify key contributors, solicit input, share ideas.
  • Collaborate to Evaluate: Shape the matter to be decided, consider viable alternatives.
  • Collaborate to Execute: Make a clear decision, align relevant parties, put it into practice.

Although the executives in an IBSG survey rated their own decision-making ability highly, the managers and individual contributors were (surprise!) not nearly as confident in the decisions handed to them to execute. Making critical strategic decisions without engaging the right people and information in your organization should be a candidate for a new definition of risk in the next edition of the dictionary, followed closely by leaping out of an airplane minus a parachute.

Just ask Borders. Borders missed the online retailing boat in a big way. How big? Read More »

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Collaborating to Improve Decision Making

January 7, 2013 at 9:02 am PST

Decisions have consequences. It’s a simple fact that not even my fourth grader will dispute. But if it’s so simple, why do organizations often have so much trouble making good decisions? Or, knowing the potential consequences, why do they pay little attention to how they go about the whole decision-making process?

It’s easy to find outside factors at which to point fingers when things go wrong – economy, competitors, politics, weather, Mercury in retrograde – but honesty requires that we acknowledge that internal factors and poorly made decisions are at the root of most major organizational failures. But it seems that most leaders aren’t ready for that level of self-reflection. Just ask them.

Cisco IBSG asked more than 1,000 executives to rate the ability of their companies to make successful decisions on critical issues -- such as corporate strategy, acquisitions, product launches, and entering new markets -- 71% chose Read More »

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Innovation Is a 10,000 Foot Free Fall

I hear so much lately about innovation with virtually every company claiming that they are innovative. Is that really true, or is it yet another over used buzz word that has no substance?  I personally see little true innovation, just claims of being innovative (who would say otherwise, right?).  One way to determine if innovative is actually taking place is to ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Are you scared (just a bit)?
  2. Do you have more skeptics than advocates?
  3. If you fail, are there repercussions?
  4. How do you define failure?
  5. How much permission did you need to execute?

I especially like the skeptics vs. advocates question. It directly correlates to a safe zone that is easy to fall into. It's where little innovation can take place - a black hole. Some of the best outcomes have occurred when there were few supporters (until it succeeded). Read More »

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