5 Trends in Strategic Decision Making for 2021

"Discover the top 5 strategic decision-making trends for 2021, from data-driven insights to agile decision-making methods."
5 Trends in Strategic Decision Making for 2021


In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business world, strategic decision-making has become more crucial than ever before. Businesses need to make informed and effective decisions to stay competitive and succeed in their respective industries. As we enter 2021, there are five strategic decision-making trends that businesses should be aware of to stay ahead of the curve.

These trends range from the increasing importance of data-driven decision-making to the growing emphasis on ethical considerations. By incorporating these trends into their decision-making processes, businesses can make better and more informed decisions that will help them achieve their goals.

Trend 1: Data-driven decision making

Data-driven decision making is quickly becoming a popular trend in the business world. With the availability of advanced analytics tools, it is now possible for even small and medium-sized businesses to take advantage of data-driven insights to make strategic decisions. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Benefits of data-driven decision making: By relying on data-driven insights, businesses can make more accurate and informed decisions, leading to improved productivity and profitability. Moreover, data-driven decision making not only saves time but also reduces the risk of human error.
  • Data analysis tools for small businesses: Advanced data analytics tools like Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, and Google Analytics are now accessible and affordable for small businesses. These user-friendly tools require little to no coding knowledge, making them ideal for businesses without their data scientists.
  • Data quality: The accuracy and quality of data are crucial for ensuring reliable decision-making. Businesses need to have robust systems for data collection, storage, and security to avoid making poor decisions based on incomplete or faulty data.
  • Obstacles to data-driven decision making: Some businesses may struggle to utilize data-driven insights due to a lack of skills or technological infrastructure. However, outsourcing data analytics or investing in training for existing employees can help businesses overcome these obstacles.

As businesses continue to rely more on data, the trend towards data-driven decision making is expected to accelerate, making it an essential aspect of any business’s strategic decision-making process.

Trend 2: Remote decision making

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way businesses operate, with remote work becoming the new normal. As a result, decision-making processes have had to be adapted to accommodate for remote collaboration.

One advantage of remote decision making is the increased flexibility it provides. With team members working from different locations and in different time zones, traditional in-person meetings may not be feasible. Instead, technology has enabled remote decision-making processes, such as video calls and online project management tools, that allow teams to collaborate efficiently and effectively.

However, one challenge of remote decision making is the potential for communication barriers or misunderstandings. To overcome this, businesses need to ensure clear communication channels, establish protocol for decision-making, and provide training on remote communication techniques.

An example of a tool that can facilitate remote decision-making is Trello, which allows teams to share documents, assign tasks, and track progress in real-time. Another example is Slack, which allows teams to communicate and collaborate in a centralized channel, reducing the need for email and streamlining decision-making processes.

Overall, with remote work becoming increasingly common, businesses that can adapt their decision-making processes to accommodate remote collaboration are more likely to be successful.

Trend 3: Collaborative Decision Making

Collaborative decision making involves incorporating a wide range of perspectives, knowledge, and expertise to make better decisions. This approach can lead to more creative solutions that take into account the needs and goals of different stakeholders.

Benefits of Collaborative Decision Making

  • Enhances the quality of decisions: Collaborative decision making allows for a broader range of information to be shared, leading to more informed decisions.
  • Facilitates innovation: By bringing together individuals with diverse perspectives, creativity and innovation can thrive.
  • Builds stronger relationships: Collaborative decision making helps build trust and respect among team members, leading to stronger working relationships.

Facilitating Collaborative Decision Making

Here are some tips for facilitating productive collaborative decision-making processes:

  • Create a safe space for discussion: Encourage all team members to share their ideas and opinions openly without fear of judgment or criticism.
  • Define roles and responsibilities: Assign clear roles and responsibilities for each team member to ensure that everyone understands their contribution to the decision-making process.
  • Use facilitation techniques: Consider using brainstorming sessions or online collaboration tools to facilitate the collaborative decision-making process.
  • Encourage compromise: Encourage team members to be open to compromise and to find common ground to reach a decision that is beneficial for everyone.

By incorporating a collaborative decision-making approach, businesses can take advantage of diverse perspectives, leading to better decision making and more successful outcomes.

Trend 4: Agile decision making

Agile decision-making methods, originally developed for software development, have become increasingly popular in other industries for their benefits in adaptability and speed. Some subtopics to explore include:

  • Understanding the core principles of agile decision-making: Agile decision-making emphasizes flexibility, adaptability, and continuous improvement. Businesses can adopt these principles to improve their overall decision-making processes.
  • Implementing agile decision-making in non-software industries: While agile methodologies were originally developed for software development, businesses in other industries can still benefit from adopting these methods. For example, businesses can use agile decision-making to quickly pivot strategies or projects based on new information.
  • Improving cross-functional collaboration with agile methods: Agile methodologies require close collaboration between team members with different skill sets and areas of expertise. By adopting agile methods, businesses can improve their cross-functional collaboration and make more informed decisions that take into account a wider range of perspectives. As the Agile Manifesto states, “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.”
  • Examples of businesses successfully implementing agile methods: Many businesses have successfully implemented agile decision-making methods outside of software development. For example, Spotify famously uses a “tribes and squads” organizational structure that emphasizes cross-functional collaboration and agile decision-making. Other businesses have successfully used agile methods to quickly pivot in response to changing market conditions or consumer needs.

“Agile isn’t a process or a tool, it’s a mindset that must be adopted for true success.” - Forbes

Trend 5: Ethical decision making

With increasing global awareness of social and environmental issues, ethical considerations have become an important factor in strategic decision making for businesses. In 2021, businesses are expected to prioritize ethical considerations in their decision-making processes more than ever before.

Importance of ethical decision making

Businesses that prioritize ethical decision making tend to have a strong reputation and are more likely to enjoy the trust and loyalty of their customers. Ethical considerations can also improve employee morale and productivity, attract socially responsible investors, and reduce legal and regulatory risks.

Examples of ethical considerations

There are several ethical considerations that businesses can incorporate into their decision-making processes, such as:

  • Diversity: Considering diversity and promoting inclusivity in product design, marketing, and recruitment.
  • Sustainability: Taking into account the environmental impact of business operations and making efforts to reduce waste, energy consumption, and carbon footprint.
  • Social responsibility: Balancing profit with community and social responsibility to ensure that business operations benefit not only the shareholders but also the society as a whole.

Steps to incorporate ethical considerations

To incorporate ethical considerations into their decision-making processes, businesses can:

  • Conduct regular ethical audits to identify potential ethical risks and inconsistencies in business practices.
  • Develop a comprehensive code of ethics that outlines the organization’s values and principles.
  • Encourage open communication and transparency within the organization to foster a culture of ethical decision making.
  • Involve stakeholders, including customers, employees, and shareholders, in decision-making processes to ensure that ethical considerations are taken into account.
  • Provide training and resources to employees to enable them to make ethical decisions in their day-to-day work.

In conclusion, ethical decision making is a trend that businesses cannot afford to ignore in 2021 and beyond. By incorporating ethical considerations into their decision-making processes, businesses can improve their reputation, attract socially responsible investors, and ultimately, contribute to a better society.


In conclusion, strategic decision-making is a critical aspect of running a successful business. Staying up-to-date with the latest trends in decision-making can help businesses make informed and efficient decisions that can positively impact their bottom line. The top five trends in strategic decision-making for 2021 are data-driven decision-making, remote decision-making, collaborative decision-making, agile decision-making, and ethical decision-making.

The accessibility and affordability of data analytics tools have made data-driven decision-making more prevalent, resulting in improved accuracy and speed. The pandemic has also forced businesses to adapt to remote work, which has facilitated remote decision-making, allowing for more flexibility and efficiency. Collaborative decision-making, incorporating various perspectives and expertise, has also become more critical as it can improve the quality of strategic decision-making.

Agile decision-making methods are borrowed from software development and have become more popular in other industries, resulting in increased adaptability and faster decision-making. Lastly, ethical considerations such as diversity and sustainability have become increasingly important in strategic decision-making, and businesses can incorporate these considerations in their decision-making processes.

To stay ahead of the game in 2021, businesses must adopt these trends to improve their decision-making processes. By using data-driven insights, embracing remote work, collaborating with others, adopting agile methodologies, and incorporating ethical considerations, businesses can make informed decisions that lead to business growth and success.