Last week we talked about HOW to make decisions. Today we are addressing WHO makes decisions. Lack of clarity around this seemingly simple concept derails teams and destroys organizations.
Organizational effectiveness, bottom line results and competitive position in the marketplace are linked to each employee’s ability to make high-quality decisions consistent with the organizational mission and objectives.
Leaders must be clear about the span of their decision making. While there is often a desire to push down decision making into an organization, they must be specific and intentional. This occurs when people know when to provide input, who should follow through and what is beyond their scope.
Tips for decision making rights assignment:
- Define Boundaries and Roles Up Front. It’s unfair to hold people accountable for something that hasn’t been clearly defined or communicated. We worked with an Executive Team who struggled with a leader who didn’t define decisions rights. She made them believe they were responsible for making a decision and then overrode their decision with her own decision. This created chaos and after a few months no one was willing to make decisions because they knew the leader could change her mind and invalidate their decision.
- Be Clear about the rights of each role. For example, there are people who provide input, people who need to agree with the decision, someone who makes the decision (this must always be a single person, decision by committee is a myth) and people who implement the decision. Meetings and discussions quickly get derailed when the roles of the participants are not clear. You will increase everyone’s participation and satisfaction when they know their role.
- Eliminate Fault and Blame. By eliminating the witch hunt to fault or blame someone, team members will work together to solve issues more quickly and efficiently. This does not abolish responsibility for consequences. The goal is to quickly focus on the information that is presented and take action based on the new information. Take out the faultfinding and the blame game to prevent decisions from being trapped in analysis paralysis.
Whether you are leading an organization, a team or a family it’s critical to set clear roles and accountabilities and give everyone involved a sense of ownership of the decision. Clear decision rights ensure that critical decisions are made promptly and result in effective actions.