Using Flowcharts for Strategic Decision Making

Modern businesses operate in crowded and competitive markets that remain subject to constant movements. Therefore, it is incumbent upon business leaders to guide their enterprises through changing times, evolving requirements of consumers, and challenging business environments. The aspect of strategic decision making gains prominence wherein business leaders brainstorm and chart strategies to plan for a company’s future performance. This activity often involves the definition of long-term business goals, aligning business actions with market forces, and pushing the entire organization to meet its stated mission. In this context, we may state flowcharts represent an important tool that allow businesses to undertake strategic decision making in the interests of growing a business enterprise. We will examine some of the aspects in the paragraphs below.

Captains of industry and senior management personnel often consider new projects in a bid to expand business operations and achieve new milestones in revenue generation and profits. Flowcharts can help assess the viability of such decisions and aid in strategic decision making. For instance, a manufacturer of cements and cement products can deploy flowcharts to review the objectives of a new project. These can include the setting up of new cement plants and machinery, assess resource availability in terms of electricity and power, chalk out budgets for various stages of the new project, assess market demand, etc. Flowcharts can help business managers to track these aspects in minute detail and add incremental amounts of information. These digital diagrams enable the business to build a broad blueprint of the new project and assess project viability at each stage. The inputs can be weighed at each level of the flowchart to gain insights into the overall viability of the proposed project. Further, business managers can create plans for project expansion if the overall business plan meets the approval of senior personnel. In light of these facts, we may state flowcharts offer a fluid mechanism to plan and implement new business projects in modern markets.

Participants in the strategic decision making process can use flowcharts to spotlight missing decision points in a system or process. We note flowcharts essentially are a form of digital documentation that map various process flows and decision points. The use of a flowchart helps project teams to spot gaps in the flow of a process. These gaps, if left unattended, can wreak havoc in real world operations and may force a business to incur substantial losses. The data and information depicted on a flowchart includes decision points that may be represented by diamond shapes in the digital diagrams. These decision points are ‘place holders’ that can be populated at an appropriate point in time. The importance of these decision points stems from the fact that major business decisions may not be available immediately to project teams. Therefore, these gaps persist till the point such teams receive inputs from senior management personnel. Therefore, flowcharts help project teams involved in strategic decision making to appreciate the importance of such inputs and to mull the various outcomes that depend on the nature of inputs proffered by higher levels in the business hierarchy.

In the realm of strategic decision making, brands and businesses must often conduct a situation analysis prior to committing to a business decision. This aspect is important because it empowers business operators to examine a situation from all angles. Flowcharts can help by visualizing all the moving parts that populate (or can influence) a certain situation and its outcomes. For instance, a business manager that participates in strategic decision making can create a flowchart depicting the various moving parts mentioned above. This flowchart can comprise various elements such as market competitors, possible market reactions, customer preferences, pricing strategy, cost of inputs over time, potential profit margins, escalation points, etc. This diagram clearly outlines the multiple variables present in a situation and enables said manager to assess the impact of each variable on the outcome. He or she can add notes that underline a business point of view on each variable. Senior management personnel can review the flowchart and arrive at conclusions that may drive the final business decision. In light of this analysis, we may state flowcharts are an important component in the repertoire of analytical tools available to modern business managers.

Change management is a critical aspect of modern strategic decision making processes. Every business leader is aware that certain decisions must be accompanied by change management practices with a view to align the entire business organization with stated goals. Flowcharts can help business leaders to review metrics such as performance improvement, the success of new processes, driving a relentless business focus, changing business culture, new initiatives, evolving knowledge structures, etc. Flowcharts populated with these metrics highlight the efficacy of a change management process over a certain period. Successive reviewers can add their own points of view to the flowchart in a bid to validate the strategic decision making process. In addition, the information and data populating these flowcharts enables businesses to undertake similar projects at a future point of time. Therefore, we state the archival value of these flowcharts is significant when we take a long-term view of business evolution and performance.

Changing business environments cast a heavy impact on strategic decision making processes. Flowcharts can help business leaders to map the various aspects of change. These include fluctuating prices of raw materials, changes in industry regulations, government policies, octroi and duty structures, varying manpower requirements, the cost of real estate, elastic consumer demand, new competitors, etc. Flowcharts can be used to track these various inputs and create digital business process maps. The personnel involved in strategic decision making processes can then co-relate these inputs to current business operations and evaluate their impact on planned business objectives. We note that the structure of the flowchart can be amended as new variables emerge in the market. The resulting changes can be mapped into the diagram while reviewers assess the impact on business objectives. New decision points may emerge in response to changes in the immediate business environment. In light of these facts, we may note flowcharts are critical when businesses embark upon strategic decision making processes.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have evaluated the various uses of flowcharts in undertaking modern strategic decision making processes. Business leaders and senior management personnel can explore the various aspects of the digital flowchart in the process of arriving at significant business decisions. They may invite participation from other levels of the business hierarchy in an effort to gain fresh insights from strategic, tactical, and operational points of view. These inputs can be accommodated into the modern flowchart to create a comprehensive top-level view of thought processes that may eventually translate into new business projects. We must spotlight the importance of interventions from multiple stakeholders such that the flowchart can depict multiple points of view at any given level. In addition, these flowcharts must be evaluated from multiple perspectives with a view to gain deeper insights into the very nature of enterprise. Digital technology affords businesses an opportunity to create flowcharts at multiple levels, as also the ability to nest sub-sets of information into a large, top-view flowchart. The interactions between various levels of processes, departments, players, and operators should help business leaders to gain unique insights into the proverbial nuts and bolts of a business process.

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