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What We're Reading
Who Has the D? How Clear Decision Roles Enhance Organizational Performance by Paul Rogers and Marcia Blenko. Harvard Business Review, Reprint R0601D.
I did a couple of workshops on Courageous Group Conversations and How to Create a Collaborative Workplace for new clients in the last month. It's always stimulating to work with new groups and see where they have questions and comments. It was apparent to me that there is a lot of time and energy wasted in conversations (meetings) about decisions because people are not clear about the decision making process. This article offers a Decision-Making Model that is simple. Called RAPID, each letter stands for a decision-making role. For example, the "D" is for the Decision maker. Is it one person? Or, does the group think it has the power to make the decision as a group? I had a number of people in the workshops tell me they don't know who has the D.
The "I" stands for Input. Who has input and what role does that input have on the actual decision? Group members think they have input when they really don't. Or there are the wrong people giving input as they don't have the relevant expertise or experience. I've referred to Fair Process before and the idea that those who are affected by the decision want to have input or they won't think the process if fair.
The "A" stands for Agree and it means that someone with an A can veto a decision they don't agree with. That's where decisions can stall or become watered down if compromises have to be made with too many 'A's'.
This would be a great article to use in any team to clarify the decision making process before it begins. I can't stress enough that I have found many teams stuck in fuzzy roles and completely confused as a result. The team keeps re-visiting the decisions supposedly made because no one knows who made the decision, or that a decision was made. Or the team refuses to take on the role of "P", which is to Perform once the decision is made. This is the subtle sabotage that takes place in the informal system that lurks at the implicit level. You can't quite put your finger on where the resistance is coming from, but there is no forward momentum.
Clear and good quality decisions are a fundamental skill of knowledge work and making the process and roles explicit should help any group become just a bit more functional and make work a little less stressful.
You'll want to read the whole Reprint to fully appreciate the RAPID Decision-Making Model.
New Trust Social Networks
The other underlying theme reinforced by the workshop participants is the concept of Trust. No matter what we talk about, it all goes back to Trust. The pre-requisite to good decision making and speaking up at work is trust, in each other and the organization. If people don't Trust the decision maker, they won't trust the decision. If they don't Trust the group, they may not advise or inform the group of pertinent information.
You know I've been working on this complex issue for a few years. I keep trying out new ways to share and develop all that there is about Trust at work. The latest idea is to use the new technology of social networking to create a forum for learning about Trust. If you are new to social networks, you might find this a great way to learn how to use this technology as well as share what you know about Trust at Work.
I've started two networks: one on Trust at Work and one on Appreciative Parenting. Trust at Work is all about how to improve Trust in the workplace. The Appreciative Parent is a network to specifically learn how to apply Appreciative Inquiry to your role as a parent or grandparent. Both networks are open to anyone who wants to sign-up. So, if you are interested, follow these links:
I'll periodically update these sites with some of my thoughts. They'll work even better with your active participation. Once you are a member, you can extend invitations to others. It's fairly low maintenance and easy to leave if you don't find it beneficial. I have no idea how it will work. But, I invite you to join me in learning and moving forward with the Web 2.0 options that all of our kids are using...
TrustTalk™ gives you the language to talk about trust & collaboration. It is a deck of 71 cards based on the 6 dimensions of trust in a team environment. Normally a $75 value, now on sale through May for $60. More
May 19 - The Five Most Common Unnamed Elephants Roaming in Your Workplace (2 different times) - More
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Thanks for your interest and support.
Sue Annis Hammond