Do I have to make every decision?

Do you need my okay for every decision?

Woah!!! Why am I just hearing about this?

Ever said any of these statements to your team or in your head after a workday?

This was a challenge recently brought up in an Acumen council. The CEO was lamenting the challenge of feeling like he had to “approve” decisions of all kinds and that a constant stream of people and emails was taking away his time from strategic work to rubber stamp normal business. He was also concerned about his team’s growth and development.

How do you give enough authority to allow your team to make decisions, execute with speed, learn by doing some failing, keep me in the loop, and not sink the ship?

Good question. Sometimes there is an idea that the entire room takes notes on. This is one of those ideas.

Here’s where the discussion landed.

Another partner in the team had a simple framework for breaking down, assigning, and communicating authority. It helps clarify what can be a foggy fuzzy process. One CEO had this discussion with the entire exec team. He was surprised that he found was that there was a lack of clarity in how decisions were made – and this conversation made it crystal clear.

There are three decision “buckets” that you can use for discussing authority with your team.

1. Just do it’s

These are the conversations that don’t need to happen. They are daily decisions or no-brainers that your team should implement without any feedback. What and where should your team implement something without any other person’s input because it just makes sense and provides instant benefit.

2. FYI

These are decisions that are made, and you need to know about them. It’s not a “right now” thing but good to be informed. They could be communicated in your weekly 1:1 or an email. I’m a big fan of no surprises. This helps keep you in the know and up to date.

3. Decide together

One of the leaders called this “Turning two keys.” Think submarine movies: there are always two people that have keys to launch nuclear missiles. It’s too much power for one person to have alone. The same goes for your business. What decisions are too big for one person to make alone? Where does your team need “two keys” decision-making?

Try it out. At your next meeting, be curious and ask what topics your team would put in each bucket. Same time for yourself and increase your team’s growth and execution.

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