In my blog post on the 7th of May 2015 titled ‘How Great is Your Team?’ I promised to go into details of the eleven different aspects that make a great team. The first three aspects regarding ‘Burning Platforms’, ‘Team Alignment Around Critical Goals’ and ‘Does Your Team Have Clearly Agreed Ways of Working?’ have already been posted in this blog. Here is the fourth installment regarding the 4th aspect; ‘A Clear Decision-Making Process is Present’. A good decision-making process helps us to update each other regularly, consult each other early and work together to co-create value to our customer.
1. The first step in this process to identify the different decision-making units in the team. A large organization would have a board of directors, an executive leadership team, an operational leadership team, functional teams and cross functional teams that are responsible for key performance indicators and generally they also become the decision-making teams. There could also be smaller decision-making teams within a larger decision-making team. Eg: While the marketing function may have a core team, there could be smaller decision-making teams for each brand. Some members (generally senior members of the marketing function) may represent many brand teams.
2. The second step is to ensure that each decision-making team is clear about their scope of decision-making and authority levels. The scope could include a brand or a set of brands, a plant or a set of plants, a market or a set of markets, a time frame (long, medium and short-term) etc. The authority levels could be defined in terms of money, time-frame, volume etc.
3. The third steps is to ensure that the process is geared to update all concerned about the decisions that need to be made from time to time, information pertaining to the decision, options available, the team taking the decision, time frame for submitting ideas, decisions made, decisions implemented and outcome of the decisions.
4. The fourth step is to set up a mechanism that enables consulting all affected by the decision early. This will ensure options and concerns of those who are affected by the decision and those who can affect the decision are taken in to consideration. It also allows them to give sufficient thought about the decision. This will ensure there is no objection, no re-visiting decisions made, no rupturing of relationships and no demotivation after the decision is made.
5. The fifth step is the execution of decisions made. If the above four steps are in place, then the execution will happen seamlessly, co-creating value for each other.
While the above process is effective, it will help engage the team and create energy when the leaders role model good virtues such as listening to everyone, sharing information, patience, willing to let go of a position for the greater good of the team and giving credit to the real contributors.