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So who is in charge?
I was intrigued to observe how our new Prime Minister has appointed her cabinet. Loyalty and commitment are clearly important, but I wonder how this will be counterbalanced by the broader experience and challenge so necessary to achieve the most effective and enduring decisions.
Does anyone share my concern?
No single individual has the knowledge and range of experience to be able to take the lead on all subjects and on all decisions. They may carry ultimate responsibility, but it should not be their call without taking account of the input and challenge of others. Great decision-makers listen and facilitate the discussion, they don’t dominate and constrain it.
Many make the mistake of expecting the head of the organisation to ‘know the answer’, and some heads feel they know what is best for those they lead. I’m not sure which side of the coin would apply to Liz Truss.
It is unrealistic to expect anyone to make the best judgements whatever the circumstances. Leaders will have a view, but they certainly do not have all the answers. I wonder if Liz Truss would recognise this. It is too early to know but in my opinion, she has denied herself a great asset by discouraging diverse voices and challenge.
Distributed decision-making recognises that no one person has all the answers. Decision-making is a dynamic process that involves the right people at the right level, at the right time with the right authority to lead the decision-making process.
Having appropriate data, exploring possibilities and options, challenging assumptions are essential ingredients to sound decision-making. A leader that surrounds themselves with colleagues who accept their authority without challenge is likely to take decisions that do not stand up to scrutiny.
The authority and role of each person in the decision-making process will change over time. The trick is to understand the hierarchy of decision-makers, the interdependencies between them, and the contribution each must make to the ultimate decision.
When working with clients I use our Decision Effectiveness Matrix to identify all the contributions required and from whom to secure the best decisions for the business.
Using such a Matrix stops the boundaries being blurred, stops the loud voices dominating the discussion and imposing their decision, and allows the quiet voices with differing views and information to contribute.
Such an approach avoids duplicated effort, confusion, and unnecessary conflict. Meetings are shorter, frustrations and tempers minimised or eradicated, and the wellbeing of the organisation put centre stage.
It facilitates focused discussion and harnesses the energy and commitment of the organisation.
Does anyone else share my concerns about the selection of the current cabinet?
Decision Effectiveness Matrix
The differing roles in the decision-making process
An effective leader listens to others and recognises that the responsibility for a decision is dynamic. The decision-making group will change over time, and the ability of the individual to influence will be distinct.
The Matrix will clarify who should be involved, and the nature and timing of their involvement. For example:
Ultimate responsibility (Head on the block) Which body or individual role has ultimate responsibility for the decision? It is the role not the current occupant that carries this responsibility.
Crucial commitment (They can scupper the decision) Which bodies or individual roles must be genuinely committed to the decisions reached? Without this commitment they will be able to undermine the decisions taken.
Vital contribution (They own essential information) Which individual roles have a responsibility to contribute essential information so that well informed decisions can be taken? These contributors will be unable to veto the decisions taken but can destabilise the process by withholding or distorting their information.
Decision impact (They must implement the decision) Which roles will be affected by decisions taken and must be made aware of those decisions to fulfil their own responsibilities. Their role will be to play their part in implementing the decision.
Creating a Decision Effectiveness Matrix will help avoid duplicated effort, confusion, and unnecessary conflict. Meetings are shorter, frustrations and tempers minimised or eradicated, and the wellbeing of the organisation put centre stage.
Tell me your thoughts
If you’d like to explore the Decision Effectiveness Matrix further, or simply want to get in touch, then contact Kennedy Business Solutions today.