How often do you feel frustrated when team or organisational decision-making takes forever, with multiple people getting involved, and excessive collaboration? And at the end of it all, no one is willing to make a decision!
These are problems many of us have faced but feel a bit lost as to how to change it.
I have observed a couple of things that can lead to these problems:
1. Lack of team structure, or lack of clarity around roles and responsibilities; and,
2. A desire to move on quickly, resulting in getting things done slowly!
1. Team Structure
Improving team structure or clarity around roles and responsibilities involves getting clear on who does what, and who has authority to make certain decisions. Enabling people to make decisions, within certain boundaries, allows people to get on with their jobs. Clarity in authority levels will let people know when they need to collaborate or get higher levels of authority involved. Clarity around roles and responsibilities can lead to faster decision making.
2. Slow Down!
Point 2 is a little ironic! Why is it that trying to make decisions quickly ultimately leads to slow decision making! This is a generalisation of course, and there are plenty of organisations who can make fast, and good, decisions, but are perhaps in the minority.
You may be familiar with the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. The age old saying, “slow and steady wins the race” has merit here. Spending a few extra moments to think things through, or get some additional information before making a decision will lead to better decision-making.
The fundamentalist view of decision-making is that there are ONLY two decisions. The right one and the wrong one. There will be times when this approach is needed, but for complex decision making, take a thinking approach, and ask the question, “is there another way?”
Finding the Balance
Finding the balance between making a quick decision and accepting the potential of making a mistake, versus taking more time to get it right first time, is hard. So when making decisions, take these things into consideration:
- Have you asked the question “Is there another way”, in order to gain perspective?
- Get comfortable with the idea that slowing down can lead to speeding up.
- Have you thought about whether this is something you really need to get other people involved with?
- Are people clear on their roles and responsibilities and the authority they have to make decisions?
- What else is getting in your way? Make the effort to find the waste in your team or organisation
– What’s the risk and consequence of making a mistake? If the risk and consequence is low, then get comfortable with making mistakes, or allowing others to make mistakes. Sometimes, fixing a mistake will be cheaper then the waste associated with taking too long to make a small decision, and the number of people who get involved in decision-making.
What changes do you need to make?
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