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Our astronaut tips for binding, adaptable decisions astronaut sits on a rocket and flies in the right direction beneath a sign with an arrow to the left and right

The art of decision-making requires learning, and theoretically, decisions should be made carefully, documented, communicated, and tracked, given their critical importance in a company. However, a study on decision culture initiated in Spring 2023 with around 200 companies participating until November 2023 revealed a more sobering reality. Important stakeholders are often not adequately involved, there's a lack of thoughtful communication strategies for key decisions, and making a decision doesn't necessarily ensure its alignment with the organization.

  • Insight 1: Important stakeholders are rarely involved in the decision-making process.
  • Insight 2: There is seldom a deliberate, predefined communication strategy regarding the communication of significant decisions.
  • Insight 3: Just because a decision has been made doesn't guarantee its alignment with the organization.

To enhance decisions and make them binding and adaptable, we offer two tips.

Link decisions to roles rather than positions

In traditional, hierarchically organized companies, decision-making authority is typically tied to the position of employees – the higher in the hierarchy, the more decision-making power, irrespective of expertise. Agile organizational development decouples crucial decisions from hierarchical order.

A position is an employee's formal place in the organization, reflected on an organizational chart. In contrast, a role is a bundle of tasks that belong together and are assumed by an employee. Unlike positions, employees can have several roles – roles are like hats, you can wear them, but you can also pass them to someone else.

What does this mean for decision-making authority? According to agile organizational development, decisions should be linked to roles rather than positions. This way, decisions can be made by colleagues with the relevant expertise rather than a hierarchically superior position. This makes decisions both higher quality and more adaptable, and they become more inclusive as they originate from within the team.

Seek resistance, not approval

When a decision is to be made through voting, typically, approval from all participants is sought. The more approval a decision option or alternative receives, the more likely it is to be chosen. However, in agile organizational development, there's a paradigm shift – instead of seeking approval, resistance is sought.

Where are the objections of the participants? Address the objections together and collectively decide whether the objection is valid. If so, modify the decision option with the support of the skeptical person. This approach integrates all stakeholders and provides a platform for a collective dialogue on counterarguments.

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