How to make good decisions in an efficient way? In case you asked yourself this question lately, you are not alone.
Engineering means making decisions. Being good in engineering means making good decisions. We as an engineering company always try to improve our decision making.
There are two fundamentally opposed approaches:
Centralize and formalize decision making by strict hierarchies, assuming the boss always knows best.
Decentralize decision making by some simple principles, assuming the collective knowledge and experience of the affected is usually superior to the one of a randomly picked individual (the proven Swiss federalist approach).
Recently, one of our employees suggested to introduce Sociocracy 3.0 consent decision making as a decentralized decision making technique.
Sociocracy 3.0 (S3 for short) views decisions as experiments you can – and should! – learn from. To start the experiment, you need a motive (S3: “driver”) and decide whether performing it seems worthwhile. You also need to define who will perform it (S3: “domain”, the “affected”) and what the expected outcome is. If the outcome differs from the expectation, the affected have learned something and you can improve the taken decision taking these learnings into account.
Since a principle of S3 is to let the affected people decide, the number of people involved in a typical decision is higher than in a centralized approach. Doesn’t this make the decision making process ineffective and a waste of time?
S3 provides effective counter measures
Once there is a decision that a driver is relevant, the goal is an agreement to implement a precise proposal that is good enough for now and safe enough to try.
Decisions are made by consent, not by consensus: if nobody affected can produce a well-founded objection against a proposal, it is a decision for it. In contrast, if somebody has such a well-founded objection the affected people reach consent on the objection and the proposal is improved accordingly.
We at Leitwert believe that Sociocracy 3.0 consent decision making might be a very helpful building block in our daily work. True to the principles of S3, we did a workshop on S3 with all affected – i.e. all employees – during our yearly retreat.
We reached an agreement on a proposal to use consent decision making for all decisions related to tools that affect more than two Leitwert employees.
We look forward to the outcome of this experiment!
Do you want to learn more about consent decision making?
Watch this video on how hand signs can be used to make consent decision making even more effective: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NW0ZkEH81Vg
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