Confirming the decision maker

How we decide who should take the concept forward

Confirming the decision maker

We don’t want Equal Experts to be a business where people check in their minds at the door; we want people to be engaged. After all, it’s the quality of decisions that determine the success or failure of any organisation – people are at their most creative and motivated to make good decisions when they have real control and responsibility.

For APs under a certain cost threshold (see Constraints), any employee who is part of a Business Unit (BU) can appoint themselves as decision maker, as long as all other constraints are met.

High value/large impact decisions

There are still appointed leaders within EE – like the Exec Team and the Business Unit Leads (BULs) – but they don’t make all the decisions. Rather, their focus is to enable others to make decisions safely, based on a common set of data accessible to all.

One of these is to confirm the decision maker for APs with higher forecast values.

The Exec team or BULs only confirms the decision maker; it's that person’s decision, and they are accountable for the spend, and responsible for the results and learnings. This is because we believe that the person who makes the decision, must have the full responsibility for it. or the decision is meaningless.

The outcome will be one of the following:

  • The person that raised the AP originally is confirmed to be the decision maker. A variant on this is that the exec/BUL confirms the original person, but asks for the scope/cost of the AP to be reduced.

  • Alternatively, another person takes over the AP to decide on the outcome. This new person could be the Exec or the BUL, but we recommend avoiding this if possible, so other people can be exposed to larger decisions.

Transparency of Appointments

For transparency, we have a slack channel (#ap-bul), where BULs are required to update the channel with all their appointments of decision makers, for those decisions above the threshold of their Business Unit.

Please update the channel each time you appoint a decision maker, along with some comment on why they are a good appointment with respect to the specific decision concerned.

Appointing the right decision maker

Choosing who the decision maker should be is not always straightforward – just because someone has a good idea, it doesn’t mean they are the right person to take it forward. When appointing (or self-appointing) a decision maker, the key considerations should be:

  • Empathy. Can this person see the problem from other people’s perspective? Are they a good listener? Do they enter conversations with an open mind?

  • Values. Does this person understand the values of EE? Do they connect with our ‘Why’ at a deep level? Does their behaviour exemplify EE values in a consistent manner – day in, day out?

  • Tenacity. Willingness to drive the decision to a conclusion – will this person see the decision through to the end?

  • Proximity. Who’s close to the issue / has situational awareness? Are they well acquainted with the context, the day-to-day details? Do they have skin in the game? If the decision directly affects the decision-maker, then the outcome is no longer abstract. They don’t just want to get it right for its own sake, they want to get it right because what happens is going to impact them directly.

  • Perspective. Proximity matters, but so does perspective. Often you need to be able to see the big picture and how this decision fits into the wider context. We have a scarce resource in both time and money – do they understand this? Sometimes an outside perspective can be just as valuable.

  • Experience. Has this person had experience of making similar decisions? What were the consequences of those decisions?

  • Wisdom and track record. What kinds of decisions has this person made in other areas? Do they have a history of good decisions? Do you have confidence in this person?

  • Responsibility. Decisions have consequences, and decision-makers should be held accountable for theirs. At the same time, nobody is right all the time. The most important part of any decision is that the decision maker fully engages with the advice process, not just that he or she gets is “right”.

Spreading decision making across the organisation

It’s perfectly OK to ask someone else to take the decision. It may well be the case that there are people who are closer to the problem that would be a better decision maker.

In order to spread the responsibilities around, people who already make many decisions at EE should seek other people that are willing to take ownership of a specific decision and let them.

We want to move away from a model where a few people are making most decisions. This is a step- by-step process that requires our active participation.

As long as other people are willing to own and implement a particular decision, they can and should be entrusted with it