Decision making workshops for a global financial company

We designed and facilitated a two-hour workshop to help executives in several locations to examine and improve their decision making processes.
  • Company
    Global financial company
  • Industry
    Financial Services

The Brief

We worked with a global financial company to create a bespoke workshop to help them speed up their decision making processes.

Many large companies find decision making difficult. As John Kotter, author of Accelerate, writes:

“Part of the problem is political: Managers are loath to take chances without permission from superiors. Part of the problem is cultural: People cling to their habits and fear loss of power and stature—two essential elements of hierarchies. And part of the problem is that all hierarchies, with their specialized units, rules, and optimized processes, crave stability and default to doing what they already know how to do.”

The Approach

We ran two workshops for executives in our client’s offices. A number of participants also joined the workshop via video link in India and the US.

We started by giving a brief explanation of how decision making works, drawing from literature and case studies (see sidebar). Then we briefed the participants to engage in a series of short discussions in breakout groups to identify specific cases and examples from their work.

Discussion prompts included:

  • Who is responsible for a decision?
  • Who needs to give input?
  • Who has the right to say “no” to a specific action?
  • How much information is good enough?
  • Are there instances where you are sacrificing the “good” in pursuit of the perfect?
  • When there’s a delay, why? What’s the issue?
  • What do you need to do to advance the process?
  • Do you trust someone else to make a decision without your involvement?

After hearing the conclusions from each group we added to these by highlighting some recommended approaches from literature, plus a series of useful tools.

Finally the groups worked through an exercise applying the recommendations and insights from their group discussions to a realistic scenario case study created especially for the workshop.

The Outcome

We finished the workshop by challenging participants to create an action plan for better decision making. Prompts included:

  • What could be done to embed these approaches within your team or division?
  • How can you take action and encourage others to do so too?
  • What needs to be done to make sure others buy in to this approach and understand the benefits?

We provided a summary of the workshop’s content and recommendations, plus a decision making toolkit to each participant.

Two of the books we included on the post-workshop reading list

Decision making reading list

  • Not Knowing, Steven d’Souza & Diana Renner
  • Thinking Fast & Slow, Daniel Kahneman
  • Accelerate, John Kotter
  • Decisive, Chip & Dan Heath
  • The Art of Thinking Clearly, Rolf Dobelli
  • Black Box Thinking, Matthew Syed
“Thank you for a great session yesterday. We had 135 attendees in total through the two sessions, an excellent turn-out, with very good feedback from participants."
Client Sponsor

Tools & Techniques

We used the following approaches in this project

Relevant Themes

This project drew on these topics & themes

Group Workshops

Workshops bursting with creativity, energy and passion. Generate ideas, solve problems, explore opportunities and make decisions.
Learn more
Group Workshops
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.