Friday, January 24, 2014

Collaborative Decision Making in Small Businesses

Decision making in small business can differ substantially from making decisions in a large corporation. In a corporate setting, no individual has the freedom to make major decisions that impact a business's growth and development. All ideas must be filtered through the appropriate channels and considered by upper management. 

In a small business, decisions can be made instantly. While this provides substantial freedom, it also brings its own problems: Specifically, reaching a consensus can be a challenge when multiple business partners each have a say in what happens next. It's important to take the collective intelligence of your staff into account when making decisions that affect your business, but smarter decision making doesn't have to be time-consuming. 

A Swift Solution to Gathering Information 

The tacit knowledge of your partners and treasured employees is a valuable resource, but taking the time to individually discuss every decision is not always the most efficient choice. It's possible to come to a standstill easily when too many opinions are discussed and considered. A smarter and faster solution is crowdsourcing decision making, which allows you to take advantage of the team's tacit knowledge without spending time deliberating over every decision. 

When crowdsourcing decision making, you call upon the collective intelligence of your group members. They pitch ideas, which are then gathered and submitted to subjective evaluation. In this way, you can get a clear survey of exactly where everyone stands without actively debating a question. Subjective evaluation allows you to sort through the responses given and quickly see where a consensus is reached. 

Tools to Expedite Information Gathering in Small and Medium Businesses

To make this process faster, our app Ranktab will aid in collecting and assessing information. It will provide a visualization of data to make it easier to see at a glance where a consensus lies. Visualization tools can streamline the decision-making process and allow business owners to pursue the best course of action without spending hours tied up in meetings. This frees up more of your time to implement these decisions and mind all of the other important aspects of running your business.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Suffer from decision fatigue? Tap the wisdom of the crowd

Decision fatigue refers to the mental exhaustion that occurs after making many choices. This mental fatigue occurs when the mind becomes drained by strenuous thinking, and it weakens willpower and critical thought. As a result, people suffering from decision fatigue will often act impulsively, without taking the time to think through the consequences, or may fail to act at all. 

Despite having thorough tacit knowledge of a subject, even an expert can miss important information or arrive at an erroneous conclusion after facing decision fatigue. In a business setting where any decision can impact a large group of people, this type of fatigue is even more damaging. 

Fortunately, it's possible to avoid decision fatigue by crowdsourcing decision making tasks. By appealing to the collective intelligence of a group, you can often make faster and smarter decisions than if you had worked on the project alone. Coming to a faster decision saves everyone from the mental anguish of fatigue, and a group with a diversity of ideas will often yield far smarter suggestions than any single individual. 

Of course, crowdsourcing decision making isn't always easy. Anyone who has attempted to conduct a meeting democratically will soon realize that it can be impossible to get a group of people to come to an agreement. This does not mean that collective intelligence cannot be used to make business decisions; it simply means that you must be more organized about how you tap the tacit knowledge of others and use it most successfully. 

You must gather opinions from many different people and evaluate them to determine which course of action is the best. This sort of subjective evaluation can be mentally taxing in its own right as the ultimate decision about your course of action still falls on your shoulders. However, tools exist to make gathering, and evaluating this data easier by translating ideas into visualizations. 

By utilizing the tools offered by Ranktab, you can collate data gathered from many sources and create graphs or charts to aid in your subjective evaluation of the results. By creating a visualization of data, you can easily spot trends and pick out the best possible solution to any problem your business might face.