February 5, 2020

88: Models and Methods of Decision-Making

Decision-making can be one of the most challenging aspects of a manager’s job. You want to empower your team, but worry about whether they’ll make a decision that derails the project or negatively impacts your stakeholders. Finding the right balance is easier than you might think once you have a model for determining which decisions should be delegated and a clear method for identifying who will be engaged in the decision-making process and how.
In this episode, I’ll walk through a few different decision-making models that should help give you some frameworks to apply to your decision-making. We’ll cover how to think about who owns which decisions, different ways to be involved in decision-making, and different processes for making decisions.
The full episode guide includes an overview of each of the models. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community or purchase the full guide at themodernmanager.com/shop.
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Read the related blog article: Make Better Decisions Faster
Key Takeaways:
  • When decisions are made by those closest to the work, decision quality and speed go up.
  • Research consistently shows that when decision-making authority is shared, productivity goes up, trust increases, and employees are more engaged.
  • Fears around decision-making are essentially fears around risk. To determine what constitutes a risky decision, consider the impact (high/low) vs changeability (high/low).
  • Decisions that are low impact/high changeability are very low risk and should be delegated.
  • Decisions that are high impact/low changeability are very high risk and should generally be owned by the appropriate level of leadership.
  • To ensure the best thinking in included in a decision, use the RAPIDS model: (R)eccomend – who is offering the options and making a recommendation? (A)gree – whose input must be included and who must agree with the decision in order for it to stand? (P)arameters – who sets the scope or boundaries of the decision and what’s acceptable? (I)nput – whose input is needed or who has an important perspective to consider? (D)ecide – who is actually making the decision? (S)hare – who must be informed of the decision after it’s been made?
  • Create a RAPIDS model before a project or decision is begun in order to avoid ambiguity or frustrations down the road.
  • When making a decision as a group, there are generally 3 models: Concurring – everyone agrees to the decision, Majority Rules – a vote is taken and the majority wins regardless of the strength of the nay votes, Consensus – everyone is comfortable going forward and agrees not to block or undermine the decision even if they dont agree with it.
  • To gauge agreement, use a Fist of Five – Hold up the number of fingers that correspond to your position: (5 /full hand up) I fully agree, (4) I’m 80% in agreement, (3) I’m neutral, (2) There are a few things I don’t agree with, (1) I’m against this decision, (0 / fist) I’m actively against this decision and would try to undermine it or walk out.
  • For Concurring decisions, everyone must be at least a 4. For Consensus, everyone must be at least at 3.


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