Half of UK C-suite leaders now feel less confident making business-critical decisions compared to before the pandemic.

The research was commissioned by enterprise customer data platform, Treasure Data.

 Its survey of 500 C-Suite decision makers in the UK looked at the impact the pandemic has had on leadership decision-making. It also reviewed whether these decision making processes are fit for purpose in a new era of unpredictability.

The subsequent report, titled ‘Better Decisions in the age of unpredictability’, finds that on average C-Suite members spend 44 percent of their time on business-critical decision making. Yet these figures are likely to have risen during the pandemic as Covid-19. This is as brands had to move their services online during lockdown, and the public adapted to working from home. 

Now, more than half (57 percent) of the UK C-Suite report spending more time deliberating business-critical decisions since the start of  the pandemic. Yet, that extra time hasn’t necessarily led to an increase in the effectiveness of business-critical decisions. 

45 percent say those decisions are now more effective than they were pre-pandemic, but 47 percent haven’t noticed any difference, and 7 percent believe their decisions are less effective now, indicating a significant level of decision paralysis amongst the UK’s most senior business leaders.

Andrew Stephenson, Director of Marketing EMEA at Treasure Data, commented on the research: “Our research reveals a crisis in confidence in decision-making at the very top of businesses across the UK. This year will see the second anniversary of the pandemic and during this period decisions have had to be made at breakneck speed, putting business leaders under immense pressure, often with many data points to consider.

“As businesses gear up for 2022, in an operating environment that has permanently changed due to the pandemic, it’s clear that decision-making processes require a reset.” 

What is causing this decision paralysis?  

The report highlights  two key areas likely to be causing inefficient decision-making.

Firstly the study says that C-Suite has lost confidence in its decisions and calls this FOMU – the fear of messing up. It says 48 percent of C-Suite respondents said that they are less confident in decision making post-pandemic. Meanwhile 56 percent revealed that they  worry about making the wrong decisions as stakes continue to rise and a third agree decision making is at its most complicated. This is in direct contrast to the start of the pandemic, when C Suite were 95 percent confident in their decision making. 

According to the report, the results also show there is a lack of knowledge around the role that data plays in making better decisions.

More than half of the C-Suite (56 percent) cite data as being critically important when it comes to making decisions, and three-quarters (74 percent) believe good quality data gives them a competitive advantage over other businesses. In fact, the amount of UK business leaders reporting that data is very important to business-critical decisions is 45 percent higher now compared to pre-pandemic.

Yet despite this, only around half of respondents actually collect good quality data in these areas and have the skills to use it effectively and a significant proportion collect the data, but do not have the skills to interpret it.

 Andrew Stephenson said: “An inability to make effective decisions and interpret data with confidence and speed has tangible business impact – from failing to discover new customers, to losing those they do have through inadequate customer experience. Data literacy and its deployment is critical to this, and businesses must act now to eliminate data blind spots in a bid to make better decisions for the year ahead.”