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Pattern #2: Decision-Making
I recently launched a new series called The Patterns and with it, I will be introducing (one at a time) some of the key patterns found in progressive organisations. These include:
Healthy meetings, distributed decision-making, a culture of feedback, clear and fluid roles, a conflict engagement process, establishing team agreements, coaching, experimentation, psychological safety and complexity.
We've covered pattern #1 (meetings), and now it's time to move on to the next: decision-making. And before we dive in, here is a collection of the most helpful resources that I have found on the topic ✨
In most organisations, centralised authority (such as the Senior Leadership Team) hoards most of the power. A few people at the top make key decisions, plus a few lucky middle managers, while everyone else does as they’re told. This traditional top-down decision-making method causes most people in the organisation to groan... 😫 It is one of the biggest causes of disengagement in teams all over the world. Why? Well, it tends to be haphazard, lacking in clarity, and involving people who are often far removed from the context. As a result, the folks without power are left frustrated, craving autonomy and wishing their leaders would move control to where the information is.
In short, traditional top-down decision-making guarantees frustration, tension and disengagement in our teams and across our organiations.
Tools & Practices
The following tools and practices have been specifically designed to help alleviate the problems caused by traditional decision-making.
Decision proposals (template) - Craft a clear proposal and clarify your thinking around the relevant background and context that led to it. This template will help your colleagues to understand your proposal and speed up decision processing.
The Advice Process (method) - Having noticed an opportunity or problem, it’s on you to take initiative. Before making a proposal you may gather input to gain different perspectives. Next, you’ll propose a plan and seek feedback from those impacted and those with expertise. You then consider the feedback, make your decision, and communicate it to those who provided input.
Consent Decision-Making (method) - A powerful, facilitated group decision-making process with a bias to action. The process seeks to quickly make ‘safe to try’, ‘good enough for now’ decisions whilst integrating the wisdom of the group.
The Murmur Decisionbot (software) - A wonderful, quick and easy way to make collaborative decisions in Slack based on the Consent Decision-Making method.
Agree (software) - Deciding together was frustrating. Until now. Agree is an online tool that lets you involve others in decisions. Without frustration and lengthy meetings.
Links to the template, methods and software for each of these (and more) helpful tools and practices can be found in the Practice | Decision-Making section of the New Ways of Working Playbook. Give them a go!
I’d love to hear your thoughts and how you get on with them, so let me know 😊
☕ If you find this useful and would like to support me to create more free stuff, you’re very welcome to fuel me with coffee: https://ko-fi.com/newwaysofworking
If your team/org could use some support (training or coaching) to move away from traditional top-down decision-making just hit reply and we’ll schedule a call to see how I might help.