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How culture impacts your teams' decision-making capabilities

by Frank Reiter , 19.06.2023

The road from vision to outcomes might seem straightforward, but in practice, it can be a complicated journey. A company's ability to execute its vision and achieve positive business results is often hindered by inefficient decision-making and team misalignment. However, at GfK, we understand that these challenges can be overcome through a strategic approach that fosters innovation and we ensure that line managers are trained appropriately.

The first step in our strategic pathway is to define a clear Vision. A Vision sets out where a company wants to be in the future and provides direction for the team to work towards. However, a Vision alone is not enough to gain positive business outcomes. To achieve this, we know we need to develop a Strategy that filters down options and helps us make better and faster decisions.

Making decisions can be a challenging process, especially when there are numerous options to choose from. Decision paralysis, the time it takes to make a decision, and the satisfaction with the decision are some of the reasons why making decisions can be hard. However, having a defined strategy helps to decrease decision overload and increase decision velocity and quality.

When a strategy is unclear or missing, it's essential to keep asking questions to determine how to execute the vision. By doing so, we can identify the root cause of any issues that arise and adjust our strategy accordingly. This allows us to continue to move forward and achieve our business objectives.

To implement an initiative, we also need a team backlog. Breaking down initiatives into different tasks can help us get things done, but there could be team misalignment to be aware of. That's why we always prioritize building happy and productive teams. Empathy is crucial to achieving this goal.

Building happy and productive teams

Creating a psychologically safe environment

At GfK we know that understanding the different roles in the team, individual motivators, embracing diversity, and acknowledging the human behind the role are all essential – it all helps to create an environment where people can thrive.

"Creating a psychologically safe environment is not just a nice-to-have, it's a must-have for any organization that wants to cultivate a culture of creativity, innovation, and high performance. At GfK, we understand that our people are our most valuable asset, and we go to great lengths to ensure that they feel respected, and supported in their workplace. We believe that when our employees feel safe to express themselves and take risks without fear of judgment or retribution, they are more likely to share their unique perspectives, collaborate effectively, and ultimately deliver exceptional results for our clients," said Cornelia Lauschmann, VP HR Tech & Product Management.

Equally, creating a psychologically safe environment benefits both teams and organizations. To create psychological safety, we include everyone in all steps of the process, regardless of their position, value all members, treat all fairly, maintain an open dialogue, foster constructive debate, engage in an unconstrained way, promote experimentation, and learn from mistakes.

Empowerment and psychological safety boost team-driven innovation. Maintaining open communication and empathy helps identify real user pain points. Understanding the job to be done, aligning the language, and acknowledging the diversity of the users can help create a more collaborative and productive team.

Creating a comfortable environment where people can communicate well with each other is also key to boosting employee engagement, decreasing resistance to change, driving learning from mistakes, and improving cross-functional collaboration.

By following this strategic pathway, we can create a culture that fosters innovation and empowers our teams to achieve their goals. We prioritize teamwork and excellence and are committed to building a workforce that is happy, and productive to drive success for our company.

Embedding psychological safety into our culture

Efficient decision-making for business outcomes

We know executing a vision and achieving positive business outcomes is not always easy. The road from vision to outcomes can get complicated, and businesses face common challenges such as inefficient decisions and team misalignment. However, with a clear strategy underpinned by a psychologically safe environment, businesses can overcome these challenges and build happy and productive teams that drive innovation and success.

At GfK, we are committed to following this strategic pathway to achieve our business objectives and create a culture of excellence. To ensure our line managers are equipped with the skills and knowledge to execute their visions in a way that encourages innovation, we host talks at internal events and provide online training and presentations that offer best practices to connect the dots between vision and outcomes.

"It's incredibly inspiring to witness people leveraging this strategic approach and delivering tangible results with such agility. Seeing cross-functional teams empowered to make better business decisions and ultimately deliver faster outcomes is a testament to the power of strategic alignment and efficient decision-making processes. Not only does this approach create a more efficient work environment, but it also makes GfK a better place to work as teams are able to collaborate more effectively towards common goals. It's truly rewarding to be part of an organization that prioritizes strategic alignment and enables teams to reach their full potential," said Magda Kubik, Head of Product Owners.

"When it comes to training our employees, it's not just about providing general skills or knowledge, but rather it's about equipping them with the specific tools and techniques needed to deliver our strategic vision. This may involve training on specific processes, tools, or methodologies that are integral to our approach. By providing targeted training that aligns with our strategic vision, we can ensure that our teams have the skills and knowledge they need to effectively execute our goals. This approach not only improves efficiency and productivity but also creates a sense of ownership and empowerment among employees, as they are equipped to contribute meaningfully to the organization's success," she continued.

Do you want to be part of a team that continuously looks for ways to create positive business outcomes that value innovation, teamwork, and excellence? We are always looking for people to join our teams, visit our careers page to view our open positions.

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