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.
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Read the related blog article: Make Better Decisions Faster
- 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.