“Clarity affords focus.” Thomas Leonard, businessperson/founder of Coach U.

Making a fast decision is important for success in business and in life.

It’s quite easy when two or three people are involved.

But when there are many, it’s hard to make fast decisions because either everyone wants to be involved – or no one – or sometimes decisions get made without including the right people, and then we create all kinds of other issues.

The solution is to get RACI – a responsibility assignment model for defining and creating:

  • Who is Responsible (does the work)
  • Who is Accountable (who gets in trouble if the project fails)
  • Who is Consulted (whose opinions are taken into account)
  • Who is Informed (communicated with once the decision is made).

And you can imagine if you have someone who is meant to be informed, thinking they should have been consulted or someone who is only consulted thinking they should be responsible, it can get really messy.

One of the executives in a company I recently worked with, disputed a key decision because he wasn’t part of the final decision-making – which is normally those who are responsible and accountable. He was indeed consulted but not happy with the decision.

People who are consulted don’t have to be happy with the decision. They just need to provide their input and views and let those who are responsible and accountable people figure it out.

In another situation, we had an executive who was truly accountable and didn’t want to consult anyone. He wanted to make the decision without input from others.

Another executive felt she was 100% accountable but the CEO had a different point of view. The CEO was actually accountable, but the executive was one of the key responsible people.

All these scenarios had the same thing: unnecessary tension, frustration and delay because there was no clarity upfront about how the decision was to be made.

As simple as it seems – and I’m not suggesting you implement RACI for every little thing, in every part of your business – the solution for any project is to be clear who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. And to make sure that everyone on the leadership team involved agrees, up front. You’ll save a ton of communication and confusion down the road.

The Challenge

Take a look at the most important project in your business right now:

  • Is it clear who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed?
  • If not, make sure it is – and that everyone is clear and agrees.