In our work with complex organizations it’s a common complaint that decision-making is too slow.
We see two main problems
1.Too many people are involved.
Many organisations have not done the work to define who should be involved in decisions or are too collaborative in their approach, feeling that everyone needs to be involved in everything. Whilst this sounds democratic and inclusive it can easily lead to decision paralysis.
This can be a challenge even with relatively small organisations. As they scale they move from a culture where many people were involved in everything to one where they have to do segment who can be involved in particular decisions or activities. This can feel deeply uncomfortable when people have an expectation and history of involvement. At the same time as people start to complain about increasing complexity, more meetings and slow decisions they may still feel excluded if they are not invited. It requires some very open conversations about how people want to spend their time and the implications of high levels of involvement on speed and effectiveness.
In larger organisations, particularly in complex organization structures like the matrix many people are potentially connected to or affected by decisions. If we are not clear about who needs to be involved and how then it’s often safer to just involve everyone. This usually leads to more meetings and slow decisions.
In our training we give people some practical tools for clarifying how and when we involve people and identify people who don’t need to be part of meetings and decision processes.
2.Lack of clarity on the process of decision making
There are a range of options for decision processes – for example should it be made by the boss, by an empowered individual or should it be made collectively and, if it does require a collective decision, does that mean a simple majority, or full consensus.
It’s also often not clear when and how in the process people are consulted or informed. Again, if we are not clear about this then everyone thinks they are the decision-maker.
In our training we introduce some simple tools for clarifying decision processes and sequencing involvement so the right people are involved at the right time.
In the absence of this clarity we tend to involve everyone and to assume we need consensus. Sometimes that may be necessary, but this is definitely the slowest way we can make decisions.
If you need to speed up decision-making in your team or organization, why not get in touch.
This is a common challenge in complex matrix organisations, if you’d like to find out more about matrix management why not join our webinar New developments in matrix management https://www.global-integration.com/new-developments-in-matrix-management/ or download our Matrix Management white paper https://www.global-integration.com/white-papers/