This article is the second one out of a series: How can you make better decisions faster?

For this TIP number two on how can you make better decisions faster, let’s use the Titanic as an example. Let’s make the Titanic agile (crazy, right?). Agile is a current buzz-word nowadays and is defined as:

A business is “agile” when its organizations has been set to adapt quickly to any internal and external changes. An agile business is customer-centric with the customer being your client, your employees, and our planet.

In practical application, what can YOU do to make your business agile?

Let’s first refresh with tip number one on how can you make better decisions faster?

Create a meaningful vision (your WHY), mission, and objectives that your whole organization can relate to and act on as ONE team

If we are to go back to the Titanic, the vision at that time was:

How can you make better decisions faster?

Operational Excellence is a Passion – let’s save the Titanic

The Queen of the Ocean: TITANIC, the latest, largest and finest steamer afloat

This vision refers to WHAT the company is doing and not WHY 🙁 A common concept that we see from our companies nowadays is: to be number one to shine and to impress our shareholders. The Titanic was the largest and the most luxurious sea vessel in its time. The Titanic carried 2200 passengers when it departed Southampton setting sail to New York City. Out of the 2200, only 225 passengers could really be considered the “finest” as they were the only ones able to purchase a first-class ticket.

A lot has been written about the Titanic and its dramatic sinking, but much has been minimized to blame a series of unlucky events. Do you find excuses for your customers when things go wrong?

In OpEx we always listen to the voice of the customer to customize and design your vision. That is why we are chosen by many. In our example, our customers are the passengers and the staff. The employees and the clients, in this case, are literally in the same boat. Let’s shift our vision to touch 100% of the hearts of the customers and not just a mere 10%.

Imagine if we changed the Titanic’s vision to:

The Atlantic voyage for us all: TITANIC, the fastest, safest, and most comfortable steamer.

The company “White Star Line” would then have to approach their processes on the ship completely differently.

That is TIP #2: Set the right processes to be better and faster in decision making.

1- How can you make better decisions faster? Start with launching the “right” projects

How can you make better decisions faster?

Operational Excellence is a Passion – let’s save the Titanic

The right process starts by choosing the right projects (in our case to design one) to achieve this goal. This vision, as mentioned in our previous first article, should be embraced by all who value Chain: the boat designer AND the operator, in this instance. As mentioned in the above picture, the operators did not appropriately prepare the ship with adequate lifeboats.

Consequence: 1517 passengers died!

Launch “must -do projects” along the Value Chain and not “nice-to-have projects” to achieve your vision! Remember that less is more.

Now, let’s suppose the Titanic was designed to take into consideration all the potential failures (which we do in Lean Six Sigma methods with a tool called Failure Mode and Effects Analysis [FMEA]-Check with your OpEx coach)

2- How can you make better decisions faster? Build the “right” routine

Still, this is not enough. You need to put the right routines into your business practices and act quickly. The most common routine is to set short and efficient stand-up meetings (as opposed to traditional sit-down meetings) where everybody comes prepared to share issues that must be resolved with the support of their colleagues. These are the pacemakers in your decision-making processes: ensure that you put the correct attention to them with your OpEx coach, and even better: make them fun!

“Less is more”: routines should be designed to have the decision making done by people who are subject matter experts.

The “lower” in the pyramid the “better”. Ciao micromanagement!

All situations, even the most critical ones, are clear at all times and handled by the right people.

how can you make better decisions faster?

Build the right routine

Let’s go back to our Titanic example. Distress signals were issued when one nearby vessel-the Californian- was close enough by to render aid to the Titanic. However, the situation was not clear, thus Captain Stanley Lord of the Californian did not order for his ship to help.

How many times did it happen in your business that you could not make the right decision because the situation was unclear? The distress could have easily been sent by an engineer on board who knew the boat was sinking.

Set meaningful pacemaker meetings and give autonomy to the subject matter experts to make the right choices.

3- How can you make better decisions faster? Give your people the right tools

The Titanic crew had champagne, but lacked binoculars and so were unable to see the Iceberg!

Operational Excellence is a Passion - let's save the Titanic

Our methods and tools should be easy to use!


…that you have your personal bot to invoice your client, and so you are always paid on time. You can focus on your customer relationships instead of just customer complaints.

…that you have an e-board for your key stand-up meetings with all the indicators ready in real-time for you  (Supplier: Solvace).

…that you have a process mining software integrated into your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) that gives you fast statistical analysis to let you know the correlation between parameters to help guide you in decision making.

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Embrace digitalization to speed up decisions and their implementation:

Digitalization becomes a competitive advantage

Avoid Titanic drama by implementing Operational Excellence,

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Contact me to make better decisions faster in your organization, and read us soon for tip number 3.

Marie-Philippe Vanheems

I Love OPEX – Operational Excellence is a passion

and because we can laugh too:

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Special thanks to Amanda Egloff for her precious EN corrections.

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