#288 from Innovative
Leader Volume 6, Number 7
My company is finally
catching up with modern management: team decision-making!
Until recently, major decisions were made by individuals,
mostly after consulting with those most impacted by the decision,
and with those having insights and the suitable knowledge and
people were upset about not being consulted.
Sometimes decisions weren’t necessarily the best ones.
Sometimes bad decisions could have been good ones if the
proper person would have been involved.
Therefore, it’s no wonder that team decision-making (we
call it TDM) seemed the thing to do.
competitor, we were told, has been using TDM.
Our chief executive became convinced that we also need to
embrace the concept. After
a bunch of consultants spent a week with us, we’re now blessed
with the ability to use teams for any major decision.
Not only will our
decisions be better, but more of our colleagues will feel that
they are playing a greater role in the company’s future. Empowerment. That’s
the word everyone uses.
Great stuff, this
TDM! I haven’t seen
a bad decision yet. In
fact, I haven’t seen a good decision either.
There have been no
decisions. I’m exaggerating, there have been a few, but they’ve all
been minor ones.
The teams I’ve
been on reach consensus through discussion and votes.
However, there’s an underlying activity.
Some people wouldn’t dare present an opinion, or vote on
an issue, in the presence of people with power over them who would
frown on their opinion or vote. Many people vote according to how the outcome would influence
them, not the company.
Discussions, however, focused on company issues.
However, what wasn’t
discussed seemed to be the force that drove consensus.
As I said, most
of the important decisions haven’t yet been made.
These are matters that would have been quickly dispensed
with, prior to TDM. The
issues sure have been talked about, though.
It takes teams to decide who should be on a team.
It takes meetings to learn about the issues.
Sometimes, a consensus doesn’t drive a decision because
an important person may not agree with that consensus.
He, then, delays signing off on the decision and plays
games to push the team to agree with him.
For instance, one director just held a meeting to show us a
business magazine’s article on how a decision, similar to the
one our team agreed to, turned out poorly.
The relevance of the article to our situation, however, was
weak at best.
to get anything done with all the meetings we attend each week.
To help out, we use company email.
Everyone on a team emails their opinions to all the other
team members. Responses
are emailed to all. Sure
saves on meeting space! But
I dread logging on to the computer:
message after message—and most are worthless, many are
long, and several specifically ask for my response.
This “discussion” can drag out for months.
I don’t mean to
be rude, but the only people who like this “empowerment” are
the people who most likely wouldn’t have been consulted in the
old autocratic system. They
haven’t at all influenced—except by voting along with their
I’d love to be
on a team with the assignment to report on the success of TDM.