Decision Making Roles and Responsibilities Matter
Surgeons understand that every procedure has the potential to fail or to make things worse.   Successful surgery requires preparation, discipline and cooperation.  Surgeons are not solo artists.  They rely on a team of anesthesiologists, nurses, and specialists with crystal clear decision making roles and responsibilities to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

The same is true for teams at work.  Organizations that have established a proven decision making process run far more smoothly than those where decisions are made without clear decision making roles and responsibilities.  Simply put, good decisions support good business.

A Critical Management Skill
Decision making is an important function of every manager – and hopefully a component of new manager training programs. Even the very basic functions of management depend on making both small and large decisions.  New managers quickly learn that the life of a manager is based on continuously making choices – some easy and some much more difficult.

Different Types of Decisions
Many small and simple decisions can be handled appropriately by a single leader.  Complex and far-reaching decisions, however, are typically best made by a team of key stakeholders who understand how they contribute to making a fast, high quality, and graceful decision.

Making Complex Decisions
When the decision will have far reaching consequences, it should be addressed by a well-chosen group who are assigned specific roles.  We recommend the following five basic decision making roles and responsibilities for efficient and sound decision making:

  1. Advocate
    The decision making advocate handles the majority of the work required to make a high quality, efficient, and effective decision. It is their responsibility to pull together all the relevant data required to present the current situation, complications, implications, potential alternatives, and recommended next steps.  Their goal is to help make the final decision maker’s choice as simple, clear and timely as possible.

    Good decisions typically start by selecting the right advocate who can to establish the right decision making guidelines with the right stakeholders and then provide the right level of rigor and influence to gather the necessary stakeholders, input, and signoffs.

  2. Stakeholder
    A decision making stakeholder is anyone who will be affected by or have influence over the decision, including those who will be charged with execution.  Stakeholders are charged with providing relevant information and their honest point of view.

    Their goal is to ensure that their input is clear, relevant, and to the point.

  3. Approver
    Decision making approvers have final sign-off authority and the decision cannot move forward until they are fully satisfied.

    While too many Approvers can create unwanted gridlock and frustration, most companies limit these roles to one or two people with clear guidelines for approval.

  4. Implementer
    Implementers, who are also stakeholders, are responsible for execution, monitoring progress, identifying barriers, and communicating status.

The Bottom Line
When you face major decisions as a manager, don’t go it alone.  Assemble a team with the right decision making roles and responsibilities to help.  This allows you to make higher quality decisions that get implemented.

To learn more about effective decision making, download  3 Steps to Set Your Team Up to Make Better Decisions

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