Managing Multiple Decision Makers

Increasing organizational complexity has resulted in an increase in the number of decision makers on initiatives across the board. These decision makers may work within or outside of the organization, and have varying levels of influence in a decision.

In order to keep work moving forward, it’s important to involve multiple decision makers in the process, clarify decision authority for any given decision, give decision makers the information they need to make decisions, and streamline the approvals process.

Clarify Decision Authority

The first step to managing multiple decision makers is to make a list of everyone who needs to be involved in decision making on a given project or process, and what their roles are in making those decisions. Who is making which decision, and who is just providing input to the decision maker?

In cases where a decision will be made by committee, with multiple people directly involved in making the decision, there are still ways to clarify when a decision may be reached. Does the group need true consensus? A simple majority? How will the group’s decision be communicated?

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Provide Visibility into Relevant Information

Another key to managing multiple decision makers is to make sure that each decision maker has the right information — and the right amount of information — needed to fully participate in the discussion, and ultimately make an informed decision.

One way to ensure that everyone has the information they need to make better decisions is to provide reports and roll-up dashboards that display project status or business metrics in real time. Providing an information hub or portal with key information and resources related to a project or process can also help multiple decision makers get on the same page.  

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Streamline Approvals

When you have multiple decision makers who need to sign off on a project deliverable or stage in your process — including vendors, clients, or others who work outside of your organization — streamlining approvals can save time, cut down on confusion, and help you move work forward more quickly.

Automating reviews and approvals can keep decision makers on track, provide an audit trail of who has signed off on what, and make it easy for information workers to act on the decisions made, because they will know when they have all the sign-offs they need to move forward.

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