When we begin working with an employee engagement team or labor-management committee, one of the question s we ask is about the method they use for decision making. We need to determine the method they use and how it is working for them.
Their answer to the question reveals a great deal about the committee. Often, they cannot answer the question since they have never been able to make real decisions. They consistently falter in their efforts to come together on answers. We hear about how they discuss items, talk about them, then discuss and talk some more without being able to reach decisions. Eventually, they either give up out of frustration or take a vote.
While voting sounds simple and easy, it rarely produces good, lasting answers to problems. Voting is more apt to produce winners and losers, which only adds to the frustration of committee members. These practices are not only ineffective at solving the problem currently at hand, they inhibit the ability of the team to resolve future problems.
In other cases, we hear of procedures that amount to little more than guesswork or tampering. Members of the committee think they know what is happening or resort to trying something based on little more than conjecture. I don’t know about you, but I do not want decisions that affect me being made by guesswork.
We encourage teams to make decisions based on all available information and data. While the thought of gathering and analyzing numbers may sound intimidating to some, it does not have to be difficult. Simple techniques such as Pareto charting, cause and effect (or fishbone) diagrams, affinity diagrams, and other tools help us learn about the work system and find problems. The information they provide also helps us track the effectiveness of our efforts.
Want to learn more about data-based decision making and how the process can help your organization? Contact CALMC to see how to apply the process to your workplace, and watch for future entries in this blog for more examples.