Empower your team through delegation and clear decision making

So today I want to talk to you about an exercise called Decision Tree from the book Fierce Conversations from Susan Scott.

Excellent exercise for organizations and leaders looking to:

  • Improve delegation
  • Engage employees
  • Create trust within the team
  • Accelerate execution of decision making

A lot of organizations and leaders try to improve these things. They talk about delegation they talk about empowerment within the organization with their employees but what they lack is the structure of what are those key decisions what are the decisions that everyone is allowed to make.

Questions employees ask themselves:

  • What am I allowed to decide without getting approval?
  • When can I bother my superior for advice?
  • What will happen if I make a mistake?
  • When should I consult the rest of my team?
  • Should I report back? and to whom?

These are all valid questions that without a clear direction to a team, can create confusion. Even if the intentions are there, execution will be lacking within the organization.

Decision Tree solves all of that by looking at your organization as a tree:

  • Leaf Decisions
  • Branch Decisions
  • Trunk Decisions
  • Root Decisions

Leaf Decisions

The leaf decision is empowering your key members of your staff to decide, execute and don’t have to report back to you or to anyone within the organization.

Branch Decisions

Empower your key employees to decide, execute and report back to you or their superior. So it’s not about consultation and just letting them know.

Trunk Decisions

The framework recommends to decide & consult first with the CEO or the key report. And then execute. So there is a consultation barrier and quality control before moving to the next level.

Root Decisions

In this case, the individual has the right to tap into all of the resources of the organization and call a team meeting for a brainstorm or some kind of operation together to come up with the best possible decision for the issue or opportunity that has been identified.

How to implement Decision Tree with your direct reports over the next 30 days:

  • Ask your direct reports to log all key decisions for 30 days.
  • Ask them to track the situation and process surrounding these decisions (e.g. how much time they deliberated, who did they consult, etc…)
  • At the end of 30 days, work together to categorize all of the decisions without the 4 types (Leaf, Branch, Trunk or Root)
  • Analyze together and discuss until both are aligned.