A few years ago, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced that they were going to dramatically change their program for purchasing services from our industry. In advance of implementation, they issued a set of “business rules” – hundreds of pages of them! Although these changes surely overwhelmed some of our competitors, we used the 1-2-3 decision-making process to energize our team and tackle this disruption head-on!
Not only were our employees affected by these new rules, the changes impacted all of the suppliers we worked with to provide services.
The 1-2-3 approach
Now, we could have just divided the rules up by function (e.g., operations, accounting, IT, etc.), handed them out, and told each department to get ready on their own.
Instead, we used the 1-2-3 decision-making process by distributing copies of the complicated rules to all our managers and supervisors. They had discussions with their front-line people, then they began the process of studying and discussing them as a group, section by section, page by page.
And we even engaged our suppliers into the 1-2-3 decision-making process by exploring how we were going work together successfully under the new rules.
After we thought we understood all the impacts of the new rules, we built our action plans for new procedures and processes, IT, forms, etc., and prepared for what was going to be required to succeed under the new program.
As you can imagine, this effort took a great deal of staff time and money. But when it was all said and done, we all felt good about taking on this challenge and confident that our team would be winners in the DoD’s new game. And we were!
What is 1-2-3?
The 1-2-3 process requires that before anybody decides anything (and even before thinking of preliminary decisions regarding your challenges and opportunities), the following three questions should be asked:
- Who can help me make a better decision?
- Who will have to carry it out? and
- Who will be impacted by it?
These people (or representatives of their groups) then should be brought together to discuss the situation and the most beneficial actions to pursue.
The 1-2-3 process enables anyone to create a highly-motivated peak-performance team that enjoys the following two benefits.
Team members are energized
It shows your trust in people’s abilities as well as their knowledge, and you build trust with the team members.
Team members who are involved in theprocess become more and more enthusiastic and energized about it as they go along.
Their desire for the success of the process and the result grows.
Team members’ enthusiasm also grows and becomes contagious, lifting the team to higher performance.
Energized team members will overcome obstacles and cheer on the new project at critical points along the way.
Employees who are inspired by what’s going-on tend to be highly motivated to provide customers with experiences that exceed expectations.
Teams function with less effort and fewer surprises
Educated, vested and energized teams implement decisions with enthusiasm and purpose.
There is little time spent “selling” them on the decision because they already bought into it.
And their knowledge and ownership of the project and energy propel them to implement a decision with excellence. An informed team also experiences fewer surprises as they roll out new initiatives.
With good up-front coordination, the 1-2-3 process guides teams to discover ideas that far exceed any one leader’s expectations.
Do you see how a 1-2-3 approach can help you make better decisions and confront changes facing your organization?