Back to McKinsey Organization Blog

Streamline decision-making for a better customer journey

With DecisionLab, we have helped many clients drill down into their processes to ensure optimal internal operations and a better external experience for those they serve.

Imagine if an agency, retailer or bank could map its audience’s journey, fully understanding the experiences, actions and pain points that both drive and undermine the organizational decision-making process. Recent McKinsey research shows that most companies struggle with decision-making—particularly cross-cutting decisions where the process is often not only complex, but also unclear. Our research into the impact of decision-making shows that organizations with high velocity and quality decision-making generate 2.5 times higher growth, two times higher profit and 30 percent higher returns on invested capital. But how to take these insights and translate them into practical, tactical actions for your organization?

This question is what inspired DecisionLab, which was developed to empower organizations to map their most important, value-creating processes and clarify roles and responsibilities through an immersive experience. The objective is to inspire collaboration and help users drill down into their processes to ensure optimal internal operations—ultimately delivering a better experience for those they serve.

Modernized processes for a state government agency

A state government agency wanted to implement an agency-wide transformation to modernize the way they work, redesigning processes to provide higher-quality, faster and more efficient services to citizens.

For this particular case, the first task was to prioritize processes for the redesign, identifying the most impactful in terms of volume and citizens served. This involved mapping out the citizen journey, charting actions and decisions at low points in the citizen experience, and spotting problems to solve.

One identified low point was when a citizen appealed an agency decision. Mapping out the process revealed that nobody was taking accountability, and as a result, the appeal process would typically last seven months or longer.

A logical next step was creating total transparency, then immediately moving into process redesign and streamlining by removing unnecessary steps and clarifying decision rights—and accountability—with a RACI framework. The estimated impact is inspiring: The seven-month appeals process is now projected to last just one month.

Better decision-making at a performing arts center

Another example is a performing arts center that was also grappling with decision-making. It operated in a matrix, struggling with how to prioritize demands on limited resources and lacking clarity on who had final rights for important cross-cutting decisions.

We began by conducting interviews with senior leaders to gather perspectives on strengths, weaknesses and priority processes, and by codifying the current state, including roles and responsibilities as well as pain points.

We then conducted a workshop to test a proposed redesign of a decision-making process. We walked through a scenario with the full executive team, debating key areas of tension, enabling us to adjust in real time.

The result was alignment on the new process as well as roles and responsibilities for improvement. We also equipped the leadership team with a simple framework to establish decision rights in the future.

Organizational redesign at a consumer technology company

In a challenging and highly competitive market, a consumer technology company created a new business unit focused on customer experience and shifted to a more formal organizational model. However, the redesign lacked clarity on decision rights among business units, slowing decision-making.

We conducted interviews with leadership to understand the core issues surrounding this ambiguity. We codified the current state in real time and captured where pain points existed. Then, in a workshop with the top team, we co-created life-like scenarios with unclear decision rights.

For example, we explored an internal disagreement on the location and color of a new brand icon on the website. Who takes the decision: the market-specific business unit, or the new customer experience business unit?

The process helped facilitate this conversation and ultimately led to working through challenges differently than leadership had in the past. With the new process in place, the company now makes faster decisions.

For more information on DecisionLab or McKinsey capabilities on organizational design, contact us.

Connect with our Organization Practice