Telviva CEO David Meintjes talks about technology and team-based decison-making

Tech and company culture key to making team-based decision-making a success

Most businesses are facing a fast changing landscape which forces them to adapt their business model, product composition, and routes to market rapidly. This dynamic elevates levels of collaboration between team members and reliance on tools, including unified communications, which facilitate that. Getting this right, however, requires a ‘change-fit’ culture across all levels of the organisation, integration with business systems, and backing from the very top.

Responding to the pace of change in technology has become crucial with the growing blur in the boundaries of the competitive landscape. For example, multinational technology companies are expanding into multiple fields across IT, telecoms and software, and being able to compete against this requires greater quality and speed of decision-making. Businesses can achieve this through team-based decision-making, if managed correctly.

Tech as a workplace enabler

Effective communication and collaboration is critical for success in the workplace, even more so when there is the requirement for team-based thinking and decision-making, making it clear that businesses need the right technologies if they are to succeed. 

Here are five roles that technology plays in workforce ecosystems:

  • Work tech: these technologies serve as augmentation, collaboration and productivity tools for employees
  • Workforce tech: these technologies are used – mainly by those in Human Resources – to manage a company’s employees
  • Workplace tech: this type of technology is used to manage distributed and remote work, using tools such as video conferencing or even augmented reality
  • Credentialization and verification tech: this includes technology to verify the credentials of many types of workers, including systems that use blockchain, NFTs and related technologies
  • Tech as a participant in the workforce: these are technologies that do work within the workforce, like artificial intelligence or machine learning-enabled bots

Greater demand for inclusion

There is also a demand for greater creativity and innovation in the pursuit of differentiation to competitors, including through continuous iteration. Here, taking a team-based decision-making approach taps into the collective knowledge of both the corporate memory as well as individual skills available within the organisation. Team-based thinking also increases the ability to execute well, as there is also team-based ownership, since team members have been part of the decision-making process, and understand the what, the why and the role they have to play.

Today, there is also a greater push for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the workspace, both globally and in South Africa. This requires collaboration in order to promote broader participation in the decision-making process from within different groups of individuals –  encompassing people of different ages, ethnicities, genders and more – within the organisation, thereby expanding the footprint of thought.

This includes bringing in individuals on an ad hoc basis to share their expertise on a particular topic, and this is easier to do virtually than physically. Beyond just representation, giving employees this experience is a growth opportunity for both organisations and individuals. 

Organisations should however keep in mind that this is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and there are instances where face-to-face interaction remains crucial. This includes the development and growth of more junior staff, which can get stinted in a primarily remote environment unless there is a high focus on tools to cover that – and these can be quite complex to design and create for differing levels of skill. The other major obstacle is the ongoing challenge of load-shedding, which can be a limiting factor to remote or hybrid working, especially when the country is hit with higher stages of rolling blackouts.

Support from the very top

Through harnessing technology – and despite challenges – many businesses have been able to adopt a hybrid or remote working approach. With as little as connectivity, a virtual private network (VPN) and intelligent communication and collaboration software, organisations can create a seamless, work from anywhere environment.

To ensure that team-based decision-making and thinking is a success within an organisation, however, the change needs to start at the very top, with the board and the CEO, before bringing in employees from across the company. Then, there has to be a value system within the organisation that brings discipline around meeting objectives, actionable insights and execution deliverables. Effective communication and collaboration are cultural aspects of an organisation, and creating a cohesive and productive environment requires collective effort and commitment from all stakeholders involved – and getting this right can lead to more successful outcomes.

Beyond collaboration, a team-based decision-making and thinking approach also gives consideration to ‘bottom-up’ innovations that can be adopted by the organisation, such as how WhatsApp has evolved from a personal messaging app to a fully-fledged business communications tool. 

Ultimately, the shift to team-based decision-making is here to stay to ensure greater quality decisions, alignment when it comes to goals and objectives, and extended corporate memory. This extends to cross-functional projects and teams-based work for fast changing environments. The first innovation that is required is the development of a change fit culture in the business, as well as change fit leadership and staff. If there is a smarter way of doing things, the broader team will help identify it and bring it to the fore. 

For such organisations, the fast-paced innovation in the technology landscape is an opportunity. For those not prepared to change, it is a threat.

Are you looking for a business communications solution that reduces complexity, enhances operations, reduces costs and synchronises multiple communications channels into a single platform? Contact Telviva today.