The UK vaccination programme is clearly a world-beater. Here we have the highest proportion of the population immunised against COVID-19. It is an impressive achievement given that the calculations were that it would take at least a year to vaccinate all adults. It looks like we’ll have done that inside eight months from starting in December last year to finishing in July.
To make sure that this all works, there are complicated and speedy decisions needed to ensure that the supply chain is operating well. Quick decisions are also required to be certain that the delivery of jabs into arms occurs according to schedule. Luckily for us, the man in charge is a former chemical engineer turned businessman. Government Minister Nadhim Zahawi is used to making decisions quickly. He founded the polling organisation YouGov which produces “in the moment” analysis needing rapid decisions. He is backed by the Royal Logistics Corps of the British Army, another group of people with the ability to analyse a situation speedily and react quickly. Then there’s the NHS. That survives on medical professionals making life-saving decisions minute-by-minute.
Meanwhile, we are in the pickle for which we needed this excellent vaccination programme because of obviously slow and lingering decision-making by the Prime Minister and his gang. Experts of all kinds have filled the broadcasting airwaves, saying we should have gone into lockdown earlier and that we ought to have barred incoming flights sooner. But the Government dithered, not sure whether to go one way or the other. To help support them, they employed the services of two major global accountancy firms — neither of which had experience in anything like “track and trace”. Besides, when have you heard of consultancy firms like these make rapid decisions?
The two sides of the UK “strategy” for dealing with COVID-19 present a clear example of the impact of the speed of decision-making. When decisions were made rapidly by people experienced in quick thinking, we did end up with a world-beating vaccination system. Yet when the decisions were made slowly, we have a track and trace system that is, frankly, a global laughing stock.
There is clear evidence that when we make rapid decisions we perform better. All too often, I see in both business and the higher education sector a decision-making process that is slow and cumbersome. The result is delay…