Navigating major change with better decision making

By Manifesto (now TPXimpact)
28 Sep 2020

Manifesto has released a new whitepaper identifying the enablers to better organisational decision making in the not-for-profit sector.

The whitepaper shares a toolbox of approaches to making better decisions in a climate of major change, and importantly, how to shorten the loop between acquiring insight and acting on it.

The Deciding Effectively whitepaper was created from client insight Manifesto’s CEO, Jim Bowes, gathered in early 2019. 

Jim found that to make good decisions at an individual level, you need to create the environment for better decision making in your organisation first. This means change in behaviours expected from leadership roles, and a review of how employees currently communicate between their teams.

Challenges of Covid-19

A global pandemic certainly wasn’t on the forecast for anyone. The challenges it’s created span a multitude of industries, cultures and borders. In particular, we know how these challenges have hit fundraising in the not-for-profit sector, with dialogue channels being closed down, physical events cancelled, retail shops closed, a diminished out of home audience, and regional volunteering put on pause.

But equally, the pandemic has given us a sharp lens and sense of urgency with which to re-evaluate our organisations. Shifting the working framework and making effective decisions are now more important than ever.

This whitepaper’s launch falls neatly into these priorities. As organisations try to navigate life in the after-shock period of Covid-19, they need to think about how the decisions they make now will fundamentally shape their futures long to come.

This crossroad many organisations are now facing looks to a future of agility and adaptability. One where firms can react faster during societal upheaval and change.

Decision-making starter kit

Split into two sections, the whitepaper was designed to be a decision-making starter kit. Whatever your organisation looks like now, it will offer you relevant advice to push towards a state of consistently making and executing better decisions, faster.

Part one addresses decision making itself. It looks at who is responsible for making decisions, what decisions they should be focusing on, and how to reach these particular decisions faster.

It also explores the biological, neurological and sociological hurdles which might make organisations stumble along the way. Keeping your team diverse – that means including different races, genders, and employee standings – is especially important if organisations want to avoid cognitive bias in their decision making.

Part two looks at how to communicate these decision outcomes throughout the organisation, as well as how to win people’s backing to implement them. It maps out how to establish a shared vision, how to use storytelling to win and strengthen support, and how to tackle the difficult conversations tough decisions often engender.

Whilst these aspects of decision making are split in two, the paper does not advocate treating them as separate issues. The paper recommends bringing affected parties into the decision-making process as early as possible. In doing this, your organisation can incorporate a diversity of voices and knowledge when deciding which courses of action are best to take for all.

Hierarchical methods aren’t the answer

“Getting the right people in the right place, with enough information, to make the best decision they can at the right time, is perhaps the most important aspect of running any organisation,” says Jim Bowes, Manifesto’s founder and CEO.

“History – and perhaps our natural instincts – push us toward hierarchical methods of achieving this, when the research tells us this isn’t the answer. 

“I’ve worked with the not-for-profit sector for over a decade and at the moment charities face some huge challenges. We have to do more to support transformation in the sector. 

“In publishing this whitepaper we hope to equip those in the charity sector with a toolbox of approaches to kickstart habits and behaviours that drive better decision making towards that transformation.” 

Louise Lai, Manifesto’s transformation director, adds: “The affirmative decision that organisations need to create lasting changes across the not-for-profit sector will provide the right platform for driving sustainable change. 

“Organisations have such an important role to play within the ecosystem of society. Manifesto believes we have a true opportunity to reshape and regrow the not-for-profit sector for the better, and we can support organisations on this journey.”

The full whitepaper, Deciding Effectively, is available to download here.

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