We recently asked Tracey Kay to share her thoughts on better decision making.

Tracey is a digital transformation executive with more than 20 years leadership and management experience, setting strategic direction and driving innovation execution in complex, regulated financial services companies. She is a passionate advocate of business-centric adoption of digital, blockchain and AI.

What is your favourite, or most used, inspirational quote?

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change -”― Heraclitus

I’m passionate about helping businesses to adopt emerging technology as a lever for business change and optimisation, so this phrase is both a mantra and reality in my world.

What does great decision making look and feel like for you?

Great decision-making feels cohesive. During a great decision-making process there will be discussion, debate and diversity of thought and opinions. By the end of the process, the decision about how to proceed will seem obvious in hindsight to the stakeholders involved. The discussion will have provided a shared understanding of the risks and benefits, and inform the way forward. 

When was a time you were at your decision making best?

I was lucky to be part of a highly effective leadership team during a complex insurance claims transformation program at Suncorp. We all were responsible for different components of delivery and had a shared understanding of the outcomes, benefits, and goals of the program. We also surrounded ourselves with highly capable trusted advisors. This high trust environment allowed for efficient and distributed decision-making.

Who inspires you? Why?

I’m inspired by Australia’s collective resilience and adaptability in response to Covid-19. We’ve come together as one team, putting community above individual needs. I think we will continue to see change and challenges in the business environment throughout 2020 but there is shared optimisation about navigating this future together.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to be a better decision maker?

Build your own discipline around decision making – clarify the outcome you’re seeking from the decision, identify options, analyse the risks and impacts of each option. Write it down, seek input and test your thinking with trusted advisors and stakeholders.

What are you reading/watching at the moment?

I’m reading the book ‘Upheaval’ by Jared Diamond. It’s an exploration of how seven countries (including Australia) have dealt with crisis and change over the past century.

I’ve recently delved deeper into macroeconomics, so I’m consuming a lot of real-time analysis online to improve my understanding of macro trends and cycles.

What is the most effective strategy you use for keeping your Ape (your emotional reactive state) in check?

Resilience isn’t something that you can just switch on when you need it. I think of it more like fitness – the result of ongoing effort. On a personal level I stay grounded through meditation, sauna, eating well and getting enough sleep. On a professional level, I focus on the outcome a customer is working towards. This helps me to keep my emotional reactivity in check. I also surround myself with people who will be honest with me and help me to keep things in perspective.

What type of decision maker are you?

According to Decida’s Slade Decision-Making Framework Survey, I’m an Achieving Activist. The summary was spot on. As an Activist I can be decisive with small amounts of information and can quickly make trade-offs and prioritise work in complex and political environments. As an achiever I have a bias towards action – I like starting things, completing things, and being recognised for those achievements. 


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