How Visibility Can Save You from Decision Fatigue

BrandPost By Smartsheet
Feb 22, 2018
IT Leadership

Modern work management tools can provide the real-time data you need to make informed decisions every time.

Here’s a common problem: You have little to almost  zero bandwidth to make a meaningful contribution to critical company-wide initiatives. One potential reason? You spend several hours each day reviewing requests from team members.

Or maybe it’s like this: You spend your best time and energy providing routine updates to clients and colleagues across three continents, leaving you little time or energy to play a more strategic role within your organization.

Or this — You spend an enormous amount of time and energy tracking multiple campaigns, digging for data in far-flung, disconnected silos, leaving no time to focus on planning.

Decision Fatigue, Defined

If any of these scenarios resonate with you, you may be on the verge of decision fatigue. Decision fatigue is what happens when the quality of decisions decreases as the quantity of them increases. Put another way, if most of your day is spent making decisions, the decisions you make later in the day—if you’re experiencing decision fatigue—aren’t the same caliber as those made earlier.

While the term may sound buzz word-y, its ramifications and reach are quite serious.

For example, healthcare workers who spend their days prioritizing and triaging according to the needs of their patients can’t decide what to have for dinner when they get home. And more alarmingly, research conducted by Columbia University and published by the National Academy of Sciences found that decisions handed down by judges are most influenced not by the severity of the crime committed or the laws broken — but by the time of day the case was heard.

Work Management Tools: Ready for Today’s Challenges

Thanks to continuous innovation, however, you can easily and quickly put today’s work management tools to work – without constant support from your IT team.

At the same time, the best of today’s work management tools deliver on some of the basic value propositions of technology. They give you instant access to the information you need to make better decisions. They connect previously disparate parts of your business. And they empower you to change course before problems become insurmountable.

It’s fairly easy to see how this can help you avoid decision fatigue.

1.  Make Better Decisions, Faster

What’s the  most obvious way a work management solution can help you and your business combat decision fatigue? By helping you and other leaders make faster, more informed decisions.

For a  sales manager who spends a disproportionate amount of time and energy fielding requests to approve discounts, deploying a work management tool can streamline the requests into a single, contextualized view.

That saves time, obviously, but it also preserves the sales manager’s mental bandwidth for more important things, such as helping the organization map out its strategy.

2.  Achieve Transparency

Increasing transparency is perhaps the most potent deterrent to decision fatigue.

In this context, transparency doesn’t mean that everything is visible, but rather that the right things are visible to the right people at the right time. For many organizations, that means corralling data from often disparate line-of-business systems into a neat and clean summary on an easy-to-use  customized dashboard.

The result: Decision makers with access to the dashboard no longer have to gather the information they need from finance, engineering, marketing, IT, or HR. They simply make decisions based on the real-time information on the dashboard.

For a  marketing manager struggling with multiple campaigns, increased transparency can be a true game changer. He can quickly and easily see individual campaign performance,, how he’s aligned to revenue goals, and which new campaigns are tracking to deadline.

Of course, the benefits delivered by increased transparency aren’t limited to individual managers; the entire organization can advance, too.

The short-term benefit is that employees spend far less time tracking down information and verifying its validity. The long-term benefit: Once everyone has access to real-time data, the decisions made are more informed and better for the organization.

3.  Work Around the World

Thanks to technology, business is no longer restricted by physical walls, time zones, and other forms of geography. That does not mean, however, that other barriers haven’t popped up in place of the oceans and mountain ranges that once divided where we live and work. And each of those barriers requires managers to make yet another decision about how to best collaborate, who needs what information, and how deadlines for employees in one part of the world will impact the schedules of those in another.

With robust mobile applications, free and open collaboration, and native app integration, the right work management tool can address those barriers head on, drastically reducing the time managers spend reviewing each situation.

That’s good news for a creative director who needs to update clients and colleagues across three countries, to the detriment of his ability to play a more strategic role at his agency. In fact, it’s good news for anyone who is required to collaborate with people across the globe as if they were across the hall.

4.  Quickly Adapt to What’s Working, and What’s Not

Imagine instantly knowing what’s wrong within your body. You wouldn’t have to wait for symptoms, or for an appointment with your doctor, or test results. You’d identify the problem immediately and begin treating it.

That’s how businesses function once a good work management tool is deployed.

For the marketing manager, visibility into campaigns lets him identify which campaigns are under-performing and make adjustments quickly, reducing spend in one area while prioritizing another.

And the sales manager whose rote duties depleted her strategic decision-making reserve? With the right work management tool on the job, she can quickly and clearly see the return on the discounts she’s approved. If revenues meet projections she can stay the course, but if they don’t, she can leverage the data readily available on her dashboard to follow another plan of action.

Learn how you can see more and manage more with real-time visibility in Smartsheet here.