Articles, Strategy & Decision-making

Embracing diversity brings decision-making challenges

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in August 2014 ……

The digital workplace is not a place. It is not a shared entry point. It is an ecosystem that is governed by a limited number of strategic principles that enable people throughout the organization to self-organize, work out loud, take ownership and assume accountability for their work. A successful digital workplace is participative.

Many people are impacted by an organization’s digital workplace and they all need to be consulted when defining a strategy and action plan. I’ve defined 5 stakeholder groups, each with different but complementary needs.

How can you make relevant and actionable decisions in this complex environment?

Frederic Laloux in Reinventing Organizations talks about the “advice process” where anyone can initiate a decision but must consult everyone impacted by the decision. Time-consuming but liberating, this process is superior to the RACI model in which only one dimension concerns consulting people defined by the Wikipedia as “those whose opinions are sought, typically subject matter experts; and with whom there is two-way communication”.

There is a balance to find: between consulting with others and informing others, between individual accountability and team accountability. The RACI model has a strong scent of hierarchy, although the roles are not necessarily defined purely hierarchically. The “advice process” seems unpractical in large, complex organizations. We need something in between: a way to involve people much more than what is typically done today.

Organizations with active enterprise social networking in place have an advantage here. It’s at least a starting point for involving people.