Decentralizing decision-making helps make better and faster decisions while inspiring people to feel needed by the organization and to be empowered. It is a central aspect of democratic leadership and a core way to build a quality culture.
Decentralized decision-making requires psychological safety and a recognition that it just doesn’t happen. Like any behavior, it needs time needs to be spent to develop and nurture.
As a value, decentralized decision-making might look like this:
- Value: Decentralized Decision-Making
- Definition: Decisions are made by the people who do the work. Everyone is trained to make data-driven decisions by paying attention to the problem, task or numbers, not the person.
- Desired Behaviors:
- I make decisions based on data, using a defined process.
- I solve problems by involving the right people.
- I foster an environment of transparency in decision-making
- I push decision-making to the right people as appropriate.
To make this work, it is critical to teach decision-making. A popular method is RAPID, an acronym of 5 words that refer to the group of people involved in the steps of decision-making -Recommend, Agree, Perform, Input, Decision. This was a framework developed by Bain & Company as a systemized framework to design an action plan regarding a problem.
With the base of how a decision is made, the next step is to decide what sort of decisions exist in the organization, and how they get made. I recommend two axis:
- The Scale of the Decision: What is the risk level of the decision
- The Level of Process Controls: How well defined is the process around the area of the decision