Building Trust In Decision Making

Building Trust in Decision Making

The pace of decision making can be very slow and frustrating.  I talked previously in a blog about lack of trust leading to consensus based decision making.  This occurs when everyone feels they need to have a say in the decision.  If they don’t, they will lose out.

Using a decision method to build trust

Trust is a critical ingredient in effective decision making.  One way to build trust is through transparency.  A good way to do this is to have a very clear decision making method and process.  By doing this, everyone gets to understand how the decision will be made removing some of the doubt.  My preference is for consultative decision making.  In this method, the decision maker consults all stakeholders and then makes the decision.

This probably sounds too simple and without more structure, it probably is.  Several processes support consultative decision making.  Here is an outline of one of them called RAPID.  Bain Consulting created RAPID and it defines five decision making roles:

R – Recommender – The is the person(s) who presents the case for the decision and provide a recommendation to the Decision Maker.

A – Approver – This role has the power to veto the decision after it has been made.  Instead of vetoing, it is much more useful for them to define the boundary conditions.  These are the acceptable decision boundaries.

P – Performer – This is the person(s) who will execute the decision and carry it out.

I – Informed – These are the people who need to be informed of the decision

D – Decider – This is the person who makes the decision and is accountable for the outcome of the decision.

One thing I like about RAPID is the Decision Maker role.  Many people would like to be the decision maker.  When it is clear they are responsible for the outcome, the role doesn’t seem so attractive.  Holding the decision maker accountable for the outcome is a great way to build trust.  Especially when everyone is aligned and clear on what the desired outcome looks like.

Generating Trust

Defining these roles and aligning on how you make decisions is an important way to build trust with everyone involved.  Trust will be further developed (or diminished ) by how well the roles are performed.  When I first started using RAPID, it felt very bureaucratic.  I didn’t have the context about the importance of building trust through transparency.  If I had, I am confident I would have been much more engaged from the start.

What decision method do you use and how well is it working for you?  If you don’t use one, how is that working for you?