When it comes to important decisions that will impact your team, it’s critical to decide how you’re going to engage them in the decision process.
Research has shown that the biggest predictor of a successful decision is if you are clear up front on the process you are going to use when you decide. A key part of this is communicating with your team their level of involvement and how you will use their input. We’ve designed an easy to use to tool to support your decision-making process called the “Decision-Making Dial”. The Dial helps you clarify the decision-making rights upfront and promotes discussion about the pros and cons of each option.
If you’re opting for speed, then mandate and inform in theory is the quickest, as there is no extensive consultation process. However, the level of buy-in is going to be much less. Research shows that involving our teams in decisions has been shown to increase employee engagement and job satisfaction. Engaging employees in key changes that affect them reduces uncertainty and can make people feel less vulnerable. It’s impossible to find a solution that pleases everyone. However, key decisions often work best when everyone takes collective responsibility for making it work (even if people don’t agree with your decision). Employees may end up resenting you for thrusting a decision on them that makes their life more difficult.
We’re currently advising organisations on how to set up their hybrid working arrangements. Most HR decision-makers are opting for a consult and decide approach. This again has pros and cons. It’s important in this situation that you explain upfront that YOU will be deciding, and how you will be using people’s input. Give the reasons why you do or don’t act on their preferences so they understand the rationale.
If you do decide to let people decide for themselves. Remember, letting people decide should be about DELEGATING responsibility, not DUMPING it. Work alongside them to support them as they make the decision. Set the parameters of the decision. Be specific about what’s in scope and what’s out of scope of their decision in order to manage their expectations. Also, coach your people to make sure they consider the impact of their plans on other teams and cross-functional processes as well.
Finally, remember whatever you decide many decisions have an uncertain outcome. Be clear with people that whatever decision you make will be reviewed and it’s likely to change. Set time frames.
When it comes to decision making what is your preference on the Decision-Making Dial?