Indecision is the greatest enemy in business and in life.
Repeatedly in my career I have seen companies who fail to grow or even compete because they can’t make decisions. This paralyzes workers, and causes costly mistakes and wasted time.
Companies in which everything is urgent are companies in which nothing is urgent. I have worked in companies and everything with high priority. Do you know how much got done? Nothing. Not because IT didn’t respond fast enough, but because the culture of urgency creates the need for a culture of urgency.
I’ll give you an example. People will call in and say that they have a meeting in 5 minutes and the projector isn’t working. Sounds urgent right? Well I go help them and figure out the issue. The next time, the same thing happens. They didn’t learn from the first time it happened. Ok, people don’t remember everything. So the third time it happens, they don’t learn. Then the fourth, fifth, so on. I ask if there is anyway I can help make things easier for them and their answer? “I don’t need to remember it when you help me so quickly.”
There is nothing wrong with helping people. Nothing wrong if your job is to take care of IT stuff. However at some point it becomes easier for the end user to remember than to take the time and cost the company money by having IT roll on scene to help. I shared before that the average cost for an IT support incident was $50. In that time that I have helped that user I could have been doing other things to help other users and saving the company even more money. So this persons failure to decide to learn what to do has some cost for themselves and the company.
I understand that making decisions is hard. It is hard work researching information and taking responsibility. It is easier to let things be in grey area. That way you don’t really need to be responsible since it is all vague. However this comes at a huge cost. Missed opportunities and confusion are two big problems. People miss opportunities to work efficiently and the confusion leads to wasted work.
Information Technology is often given as the answer to increased productivity. Yes it can be helpful, but more helpful is clear communication and making a bold decision. I wish that more companies had effective leadership and managers and willing to improve things as much as keeping their job.