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3 Tools to Retire from Your Strategic Decision-Making Toolkit

By ITR Economics on December 22, 2021

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ITR Economics is the oldest, privately-held, continuously operating, economic research and consulting firm in the US.

Budget planning season, capital investment discussions, strategic planning meetings – for these and many scenarios, you turn to your trusty decision-making toolkit. You and your leadership team use the instruments inside to develop actionable plans for lofty goals. But what happens when those plans fail to deliver on your goals? Or fail to overcome challenges you didn’t see coming? It may be time to retire some of the items in your toolkit.

Retire Reactive Thinking

Do you know the saying, “That’s a problem for future me”? Too often, businesses find themselves carrying that sentiment over into their business planning. They account for how their markets or industries are performing now, but not where they're headed in the future.

In a past TrendsTalk episode on the importance of logistics planning, ITR Economist Lauren Saidel-Baker shared a key insight: “It's always that roadblock that you don't see coming that hampers you the most in the end. So I want to remind listeners today: this is your reminder that logistics matter, they are important, and they are something that you can plan for.”

“But," you counter, "I am looking at future trends when I make strategic business decisions!” This leads us to our next recommendation…

Retire the Use of “Common” Indicators

Businesses of all kinds utilize leading indicators for a picture of where the economy is headed. But relying on the wrong indicators can lead to misunderstood trends, incorrect insights, or simple shortsightedness. There are a number of “common” indicators – the unemployment rate, the yield curve, and consumer sentiment, to name a few – that are perfectly poised to lead executives astray in their planning.

[RELATED POST: “Insights From Our CEO: Why Accurate Forecasting Matters”]

So what do you replace them with? Economic leading indicators backed by lasting forecast accuracy and proven methodology.

Retire Media Input

The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and even social media can be great sources for news item and economic updates. But they suffer from two problems that should immediately disqualify them from your toolkit:

  • They involve reactive thinking (see item 1)
  • They are typically subject to some form of bias

The insights you draw from your decision-making toolkit should be numbers-driven, actionable, and bias-free. ITR Economics CEO Brian Beaulieu emphasizes this, noting that "managing for the future with this negativity bias and the always present cacophony of media inputs can result in delays, missed opportunities, loss of market share, and/or loss of profits."

"Taking emotion and emotional bias out of the analysis yields improved results,” he continues.

So once you’ve removed the reactive thinking, the less-helpful leading indicators, and the newspaper headlines, what's left?

Replace These Tools With the ITR onDemand App

The ITR App is a powerful resource for subscribers and nonsubscribers alike. You rely on your decision-making toolkit because it’s familiar to you and easy to access – this app is an invaluable addition for busy executives.

With the ITR App, you can avoid reactive thinking by accessing your economic forecasts, market and industry trends, insightful blog posts, TrendsTalk episodes, and more. And all that information is backed by the data-driven insights afforded by our powerful leading indicators, unique methodology, and unbiased perspective.

Keep a trusted business advisor in your pocket – download the ITR onDemand App via the Google Play Store or Apple App Store today.


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