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  • Writer's pictureMichael McClanahan

Five Critical Factors in Making Inclusive Business Decisions

Charles Spurgeon once said, "It's not how much you have, but how much you can enjoy the happiness." Decision-making by leaders in business often overlooks the importance of the well-being of the customer and employees. Ignoring the importance of an inclusive work environment and recognizing the value of delivering goods and services that matter and enhance people's overall lives should never be overshadowed in favor of a decision that supposedly is meant to resolve a business problem. To achieve maximum benefit, leaders must leverage a comprehensive methodology when deriving short- and long-term strategic objectives that are mutually beneficial and inclusive for all the stakeholders.

Information is the essential ingredient that will help make the right decisions and set the foundation for a sound business decision for the organization and its stakeholders. The business leadership team should strive to make data-driven decisions based on timely and accurate data. This information can come from market trends, recent customer trends and buying habits, financial performance, and other factors germane to the business problem. The data collected must be derived from objective and diverse sources to avoid common source bias and short-circuit the outcomes. Reliable information from its origin also merits direct value and credibility in decision-making.

Upon completing the data gathering, the information must undergo a detailed analysis to identify and recognize patterns, trends, and insights. Achieving this outcome is not just limited to examining data analytics and emerging patterns. The approach entails careful consideration of any potential inclusivity patterns, which are the practices, approaches, and behaviors that promote inclusivity, diversity, and equity within the context of the decision. Market research also plays a crucial role in examining whether the actual ideas demonstrate value to the customer. Profitability and financial viability, such as return on investment, are other factors to analyze to determine if the emerging patterns properly utilize existing assets and have the potential to yield monetary results in the future.

To avoid getting myopic and exploiting thought leadership on the business problem, the business leader must also look at alternatives and not assume that one size fits all. The intent is to uncover and seriously evaluate diverse options, including multiple options, to determine what will lead to the most compelling outcome. Gathering insights from an inclusive forum detached from the problem can also help avoid confirmation bias and yield a more inclusive and objective outcome mutually beneficial for the organization and its stakeholders.

Risk identification and assessment in every decision is crucial to the idea's viability. Examining the potential factors that may impede or impact an outcome is vital. Establishing a risk mitigation plan and developing strategies to overcome potential obstacles can help manage change effectively and raise awareness among the internal stakeholders. The approach exposes potential risks and enables an effective feedback loop for introducing and implementing bold and fresh ideas.

Upon the course of action to take, an effective implementation plan is crucial to ensure it is rolled out effectively and with minimal disruption. The implementation approach should clearly articulate roles and responsibilities and establish milestones and metrics tailored to assess the desired outcomes in an objective outcome. The intent is to create specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) results that meet the intended outcomes and align and balance the internal and external stakeholder's expectations. Success is measured through a holistic and inclusive implementation approach and on the financial sheet.

A holistic and meaningful business decision is derived when leaders of the organization prioritize inclusivity in the overall process. Gathering information and analyzing the data through multiple channels while contemplating alternatives in a risk-averse methodology will enable a business to implement the outcomes that derive meaning to each stakeholder and promote innovation throughout the organization. Continuously seeking out new ideas and diverse strategies from a diverse set of resources is a crucial differentiator and, as Stephen Jobs noted, separates the leaders from the followers.

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