“You won’t believe what they did to us at work today!” I’m sure that you have heard this comment before. You may have even said it yourself. Decision-making is a continual activity within any organization with lots of leaders involved at all levels of the organization. I’ve discovered that poor decision-making can sap the enthusiasm of your people and create poor results for your entire organization.
If the senior leadership of the organization is not living out the method, or teaching the principles of 1-2-3, middle management is not likely to understand the process, let alone take the time to employ it.
What is 1-2-3?
1-2-3 is a process that promotes teamwork and helps you lead your organization to consistently better results. It works like this:
(a) Ask three questions before making a decision:
- Who can help me make a better decision?
- Who will have to carry it out?
- Who will be impacted by it? And,
(b) Involve those people in making the decision as appropriate.
Leaders who don't use 1-2-3 are at risk
Every leader can benefit from the 1-2-3 process. If you don’t choose to employ its principles, you will certainly suffer some, or all of the following negative consequences:
- You’ll make decisions based on incomplete information.
- You may save an ounce of effort in one area/department without realizing it will require a pound of effort in one or more areas/departments.
- The limited progress achieved with a decision made without input from others may take the focus off of the issue and delay or prevent pursuit of a better team-based approach!
- Team members will lack inspiration and enthusiasm when being asked to implement something they weren’t “in on”. We are generally not “up on” what we are not “in on”.
- Inappropriate approaches result in unhappy employees at all levels of the organization. This is especially true on the front lines, when folks are repeatedly asked to carry out decisions in ways that they know are not as effective or efficient as they could be.
Leadership insight: The more capable and dedicated the employee is, the more frustrated they will be with unilateral, non-participative leadership.
At the same time, the supervisors and managers are unhappy that the people reporting to them aren’t more excited and enthusiastic about carrying out their responsibilities.
- It’s only natural for employees at all levels in an organization to feel like they are being perceived as tools rather than as knowledgeable, thinking individuals. The result is that they rapidly become uninspired employees.
Management must understand that to refuse to involve employees, even in the simplest of activities, will only serve to discredit a “people-first” culture.
What are you doing to avoid demotivating your employees? – so they don’t say, “You won’t believe what they did to us at work today!”