Decision Fatigue: Greg Case on a Growing Business Challenge

Decision Fatigue: Greg Case on a Growing Business Challenge
August 17, 2023 8 mins

Decision Fatigue: Greg Case on a Growing Business Challenge

Aerial city view of buildings, rooftops and streets

Business leaders are facing a growing number of complex and interconnected risks, resulting in decision fatigue for many executives. Aon CEO Greg Case explains how leaders can take a proactive approach to difficult choices while investing in talent development and wellbeing.

Key Takeaways
  1. New intersecting risks around the world are challenging business leaders to rethink their approach to decision making.
  2. Moving from a reactive defense mindset to a forward-thinking offense mindset can help identify opportunities and proactively address business needs.
  3. Developing holistic people strategies will continue to be a critical part of business decision making.

Overview

As business risks increase and become more complex, executives are facing compounding pressures to maintain business resilience, meet changing workforce needs and plan for an uncertain future. Though leaders anticipate making difficult choices, the past few years have put pressure on the C-suite and affected the wellbeing of leadership. Developing a strategy for making better decisions could help executives overcome decision fatigue, adapt to global changes and guide their businesses to successful outcomes.

According to Aon CEO Greg Case, a proactive approach to problem solving can help leaders meet the moment and find clarity in a world of interconnected risks. Case recently shared his perspective as part of the On Aon podcast series, in which he discussed making difficult decisions, changing mindsets in leadership and strengthening businesses through workforce wellbeing. Here are some edited highlights from the podcast episode.

What clients have revealed about today’s risk landscape:

Greg Case: There’s more risk than ever before and more connectivity across those risks than ever before. In many respects, there is almost a sense that every decision is becoming more and more important — which is obviously true, but it creates pressure.

Leaders in many respects get to a point of almost decision fatigue. You have to make the right call, because these calls become more and more important, but in the end, you end up worrying that you’re playing defense too much. You’re actually making sure you protect your business in such a way that in some respects, you actually don’t take the steps forward you want to take.

If anything, 2022 was so much about getting these decisions right and the fatigue that comes with that. We’re in the business of better decisions. How do you make that a reality for businesses around the world, and how do you partner with them to do that?

Quote icon

In many respects, there is almost a sense that every decision is becoming more and more important — which is obviously true, but it creates pressure. Leaders in many respects get to a point of almost decision fatigue.

Greg Case
CEO, Aon plc
How factors such as post-pandemic recovery, geopolitical volatility and economic uncertainty are contributing to decision fatigue:

Greg Case: What I’m hearing is that combination is really what created the challenge and the complexity. They kind of consume all your time. So, you don’t really have the time to really think about the future and build momentum the way you’d like to. That just seems to be a reality across the world.

This fatigue isn’t a lack of activity. Trust me, there’s more initiative and more energy going into this than ever before. But when you’re prudently playing defense, you then think about it from a stakeholder view.

The idea of the evolution from defense to offense is so important. One part of this is just a shift in mindset and really stepping back and asking the question, “How do we protect the house?” No doubt about that — but how do we think about going forward? I’ve watched a set of leaders approach risk very proactively. They understand the interconnectivity of it and they understand the risk today, but they are looking for opportunities in the face of risk.

One other piece that seems so universal in this conversation is around people strategy and really taking a long-term view of how talent strategy is evolving and continues to get shaped by all that’s around us. And leaders are very clear on the strategy they’re taking to bring in talent, develop talent and nurture talent.

Why “going on the offense” matters in people strategy and business decisions:

Greg Case: Resilience is nowhere near enough to do what we all want to do to build our businesses. And you evolve from resilience here to the idea of wellbeing and what it really means for our colleagues to succeed, not just retention, it really is around financial wellbeing for them.

It’s around physical health and it’s around mental health. It’s around creating opportunities, which they find more compelling than ever before, and creating excitement and energy in ways that haven’t existed before. And stepping up to that challenge on wellbeing, we just see it everywhere. Clients who really are embracing this idea of going on offense to build in this highly complex environment are performing substantially better.

Technology obviously is a very fundamental piece of this. How do you operationalize the idea of embedding wellness across colleagues around the world? In so many aspects, this idea of going from resilience and retention and all the aspects that are built into that to wellbeing is absolutely fundamental.

Why apprenticeship programs are an important consideration in business success:

Greg Case: The apprenticeship idea really starts with the perspective and thesis that if we open up opportunities for talent from broader sources, we’re all going to be better off. Our Aon colleagues around the world have been absolutely spectacular in the context of apprenticeships.

It’s been a great opportunity for them and it’s an opportunity for us. These colleagues have come in and done a magnificent job adding to the texture, the content and the capabilities that exist at our firm.

We’re opening the opportunities up more broadly than ever before, creating a very skill-based approach to how we bring in talent, how we develop talent and how we apprentice talent over time. That outcome has been incredibly compelling and is going to make a difference not just at Aon and in our industry but really across the entire economy.

How to approach the challenge of making hard decisions and getting things done:

Greg Case: With the complexity and the risks that are out there, our ability to help clients with all their colleagues, people, retirement and risk is massive. Think about the clarity we have in the business of better decisions.

I go back to Teddy Roosevelt. I love the entire thesis around the idea of being in the arena and what it means to be in the arena. It really is around taking initiative, going from defense to offense and having the courage to do that in your own organization on behalf of your clients, with your colleagues and in whatever you’re doing.

Quote icon

With the complexity and the risks that are out there, our ability to help clients with all their colleagues, people, retirement and risk is massive. Think about the clarity we have in the business of better decisions.

Greg Case
CEO, Aon plc

General Disclaimer

The information contained herein and the statements expressed are of a general nature and are not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information and use sources we consider reliable, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

Terms of Use

The contents herein may not be reproduced, reused, reprinted or redistributed without the expressed written consent of Aon, unless otherwise authorized by Aon. To use information contained herein, please write to our team.

More Like This

View All
Subscribe CTA Banner