SMART-DECISION-Culture: Facing complexity with smart decisions

Making smart organizational decisions in an uncertain and complex world is a challenge. But even under these volatile conditions, this is exactly what is required of managers at all hierarchical levels in organizations on a daily basis.

Our concept of the SMART-DECISION-Culture supports you in making your organization fit for the future – because in order to be able to successfully master the current challenges, a rethinking of managers and organizational developers is necessary. The Smart Decision Culture concept enables your organization and your managers to design decision-making processes in such a way that all relevant information that is available inside and outside the organization is included.

In doing so, we base our knowledge on the latest system theory and the current knowledge of neuroscience.


Organizations and decisions

The starting point of the SMART DECISION culture concept is the organizational understanding of modern systems theory. Organizations are understood as complex social systems based on communication. The most important communicative event is the decision – an organization only exists as long as it makes decisions. If this is no longer the case, the organization disappears from the scene. In terms of systems theory, we only speak of decisions if subsequent decisions are made based on a decision.

Use system intelligence

If the knowledge of managers and employees is to be taken into account in decision-making processes, the rules and structures must be adapted so that they can be fed into the process. If this does not happen, the knowledge exists within the system, but does not get to the right places and is therefore of no use to the organization.

Corporate culture influences behavior and decision making

In addition to these rules and structures, organizations also have a life of their own that manifests itself in unofficial expectations and behavior patterns. If these collective expectations are not (also) met by managers, the organization can react very violently. The origin of these reactions is the corporate culture. This often has an unwanted and unconsciously massive influence on the way decisions are made in organizations – often with the result that no smart decisions can (can) be made. Due to this enormous influence, the Smart Decision Culture concept consciously picks up on the corporate culture and incorporates it into the process.

People and decisions

Neural Networks

When people make decisions, the neural networks in the human brain become active. Current neuroscience sees the human brain as a dynamic, self-organized super-system, which consists of a large number of neurons (nerve cells) that are network-like connected via synaptic connections. Our neural networks have a massive influence on our psychological events: on our willingness to perceive, willing to act, willing to emotion and motivation.

Are certain neural networks activated frequently, e.g. For example, if certain patterns of thought or behavior are repeated many times, these networks become stronger in the course of life and increasingly become established paths – at some point these patterns run automatically and unconsciously. The reverse is true: If you no longer use a network, it slowly degrades and the corresponding behavior is shown less and less.

When learning, new neural networks are set up or broken down according to the same principle. The Smart Decision Culture concept uses the brain as a resource and solution-oriented organ, builds on current neuroscientific findings and supports the process of personality development for managers and junior managers with regard to the upcoming tasks.

Affective rating system

The brain holds an evaluation function and identifies behaviors that can harm or benefit psychobiological well-being. A distinction is made between cognitive and affective rating systems.

The affective evaluation system uses so-called somatic markers – these are feelings and body sensations that have been saved in the emotional experience memory in relation to experienced situations and related objects. Using these somatic markers, the brain can decide whether something is “good” or “bad” within milliseconds and triggers a corresponding feeling or body sensation.

As part of the Smart Decision Culture concept, we use the positive somatic markers, which are associated with positive, affective reactions and beneficial body reactions, to build up neural networks. This enables resources that are already available to the manager to be used to develop appropriate behavior based on a self-determined attitude.

The psyche in the decision-making process

As already mentioned, modern brain research gives us insights into what happens in a person’s head when a decision has to be made. The basis of decisions is a completed assessment. The brain has two options for evaluating facts:

  1. It uses the mind (cognitive rating system) or
  2. The emotional experience memory (affective rating system).

However, these two rating systems are fundamentally different:

While the mind works slowly and thoroughly and thereby follows the laws of logic and rationality, the emotional experience memory reacts comparatively quickly as described above – but only with diffuse feelings, which cannot always be put into words. Ideally, the mind and the emotional experience memory match.

A wise decision is made when mind, experience and emotions are involved in a balanced way – this aspect is given special consideration in the context of the Smart Decision Culture concept.

Team and decision

Good management interaction is becoming increasingly important for corporate success. The complexity of the tasks to be solved means that work and decision teams have to be installed in organizations in order to make sustainable decisions. The quality of decisions is clear from two observation points:

  • Has a wise decision been made incorporating all of the information, opinions and hypotheses available?
  • Is the decision supported in the company and are corresponding follow-up decisions made in the sense of the initial decision? (Say: Have the decisions been implemented and do they entail further decision-making requirements or are the decisions silted up and forgotten?)

Due to today’s complexity, conflicting goals and paradoxes occur more and more in decision-making processes, which individuals can hardly manage alone. In most cases there are also conflicting opinions and interests that clash.

The prerequisite for good decisions is then to evaluate these different perspectives and to find a viable decision in spite of all differences of opinion and interests – in order to increase the chance that the organization will make subsequent decisions after the decision has been made and thus implement it can speak of the decision.

This process is not a self-advocate, but requires suitable structures, processes, conventions, role clarifications and a communication behavior that is characterized by all the balance between push and pull styles – all of these aspects are effectively dealt with the Smart Decision Culture concept .

Download the brochure on the SMART DECISION culture


Download free brochure on the SMART-DECISION-Culture


Download the brochure on our SMART-DECISION-Culture concept and learn more about the theoretical background, the concept and its implementation.

    Our consultants for you

    Robert A. Sedlák

    Guest Prof.
    Robert A. Sedlák

    Kim Pfeffer

    Kim Charlotte