We’ve all been there – frustrated from being in the dark about major decisions that impact us until the decision is made. These decisions may be handed down by top management at our companies, other organizations we belong to, or the local, state or federal government. It is a bit degrading to be a stakeholder in something but to be ignored until you are either told “this is the way it’s going to be” or are expected to merely give a thumbs up or thumbs down vote on a decision that could possibly have been better with more involvement of others up front.
Is it possible that the fortunate few making the calls behind closed doors still make the best decision and that we end up where we should? Yes. But why should we take that chance? We can get to the best solutions and decisions with happier customers (or members or employees or citizens or family or…) if we do at least a few things better, such as:
- Be open to changing and improving processes. Doing something because it’s always been done that way is inexcusable.
- Listen to our stakeholders and be responsive to consistent issues that cause friction.
- Initiate involvement of all stakeholders early in the process. Don’t wait until complaints are rampant. The prevalence of social media as an avenue for this makes the lack of doing it so last century.
What I have in mind at the moment is a recent decision made in a volunteer organization I am part of. I completely agree with the final decision and support it 100%. What concerns me is the lack of people involved in that decision and the message it sends to the larger membership when such an important decision comes out of nowhere having involved only a few people. How does that make the larger community feel in terms of their input? Not very important.
Good leadership seeks to involve all stakeholders in significant decisions early and often. In this case, I am grateful for the final decision, but the process will (again) certainly leave a bad taste in the mouths of many.
Leap year lesson #156 is Involve your people in decision making.