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EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT DECISION MAKING

How to improve the quality of decisions being taken in management teams?

THE CHALLENGE

In the course of a large corporate development process, the executive team and family owners of an Austrian industrial holding company set themselves the target to improve the quality of decisions being taken in their management teams. As most of the strategic decisions were taken in meetings one major lever was the improvement of the effectiveness and efficiency of their meetings.

TARGET

  • Establishment of a decision-, team and meeting culture.
  • Establishment of strong management teams that take effective and efficient decisions.
  • Continuous improvement of the effectiveness and efficiency of decision making processes.
  • From the quality of preparation, to the implementation and follow up.
  • Establishment of joint meeting standards and inspiration on how to do meetings differently.

EXTENDED BOARD WORKSHOP

We started with a workshop with the extended board consisting of the Holding board and the CEOs of the group companies where they took time to reflect on their own decision-, team and meeting culture and set a joint target culture for the group.

MEETING FACILITATION TRAINING

As a consequence they decided that they needed to improve their own meeting facilitation style in order to engage people and stimulate discussions so that the decisions which were taken would lead to commitment and sustainable success of the company.

Doujak Corporate Development tailored a training based on the learnings of the extended board on which the entire 2nd and 3rd line management (200 people) of the company got trained. The content of the training workshops was a mixture of effective meeting facilitation, team and decision making inputs. The concept was a combination of hands on tools and tips from Doujak Corporate Development, case study work on their own meetings and learning from the other managers. The fact that people from different group companies joined the sessions had positive side-effects as it increased networking and collaboration within the group. As a signal that the board takes this topic seriously, each facilitation training workshop was co-facilitated by a board member.

TOP MEETINGS

In parallel the TOP strategic meetings in the group were defined.  After an initial assessment, the meetings got monitored by a meeting barometer consisting of 7 criteria. Half yearly progress reports were discussed within the management team. Due to the meeting barometer criteria rankings, critical issues were raised more easily and lead to qualitative discussions on the meeting, team and decision making culture – not only looking at areas for improvement but also best practices which can be used from one group company to the other.

ROLL OUT

After having the major management being trained and the TOP meetings being constantly improved, the next step was to roll out the concept to the international units and other levels of the organization.

Therefore the usage of virtual meeting tools got an important topic. As a consequence a joint virtual meeting system got implemented and the annual meeting with the international managers was accompanied by a webinar.

In order to roll out the ideas behind the new culture and at the same time leave space for individuality and cultural differences within the group, joint meeting standards were developed which represent the minimum of requirements to be implemented.

In order to promote intercultural understanding, international workshops on culture specifics of decision making, teamwork and meeting facilitation were held for the international management.

Additionally each group company was provided with a training package consisting of information on facilitation, team work, decision making processes and virtual collaboration which was used for the roll out into the lower levels of the organization.

THE RESULT

The efficient and effective meeting initiative had a strong impact on the organizational culture and also affected the leadership style of the management. The increase of quality of meetings resulted in a more profound basis for decision making and a stronger commitment which supported the overall aim of the corporate development program.

The aspect of questioning the relevance of certain meetings and selecting TOP Meetings with a specific focus lead to a reduction of meetings and a more conscious preparation and facilitation of the TOP meetings. The additional virtual and intercultural aspects which were included with the roll out changed the perspective from an Austrian headquartered to a more international organization.