Need to make a decision? Consult, consult, and consult again.

I’m in the 43rd year of my career and I find it fascinating, and somewhat puzzling, that many organizational decisions are still made with far too little input from the folks, you know, who actually have to implement the decisions and who know more about their jobs than anyone else. To me, getting this input is intuitive. It’s axiomatic. It’s obvious. It’s a no-brainer.

So, in the spirit of (my) “first principles”, whenever an organizational decision has to be made, consult with the people that actually have to implement it, in addition to those in the chain of command. (But if I had to choose between the two, the former would win hands-down, always.)

The corollary…if time and circumstances permit let the implementers make the decision.   This is far from a laissez-faire approach and it certainly isn’t abrogating responsibility. On the contrary, while leadership always reserves the right and has the obligation to make the decision, delegating as close as possible to those responsible for implementation is an affirmative move that realizes a wealth of benefits, not the least of which is that the decision will, in all probability, be better. 

Whether the decision is where to place a potted plant or go to DEFCON 1, consult, consult, and then consult some more. And if time and circumstances permit, delegate the decision. This should be the default position…always.

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