A long time ago I was an Instructor at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). NOLS uses wilderness expeditions as a way to teach leadership skills. One NOLS framework that I go back to often is their group decision-making framework. That framework helps leaders understand that there are different ways to make decisions and develops their ability to use different decision-making styles that involve their team more, or less, depending on the situation.
Thanks for sharing this, Molly. Not only did the framework help, but I got to learn about a fantastic experience that I'm thinking about sending my kids for.
Well, that's a framework I'm going to carry around with me for the rest of my life. Thanks for sharing this!
Love love love this framework. Especially critical is sharing clearly with everyone how you're making decisions. Knowing the rules of the game makes it run so much smoothly! And signalling: okay folks, we're changing modes.
Clarity not confusion wins!
Yes for better decision making systems! Dunno if you came across the thing we made that feels very inline with your thinking here: https://thedecider.app/
This is wonderfully nuanced, Molly. Thanks for writing this piece. A few thoughts and a question your piece provokes :)
Urgency as a parameter makes sense for the wilderness when quality and quantity of information are subject to quick change. Same in the military where intel may be reliable only a for a very limited time. In corporate settings, a more analytical/classical system can be applied where payoffs can be calculated for each option with probabilities. What to me this means is that there may be (more) scope to delegate decision-making where information is reliable, available, and stable. There's less judgement/experience/intuition to be applied in such cases, hence easier to delegate. By doing so, as a leader, you also get to groom your team. Of course, all of this is on a sliding scale.
The other interesting thing to me in the choice of urgency as a parameter is the weight given to time in sound decision-making outdoors. And you hit the nail on the head in that business leaders and team could do worse than learn how to be decisive the NOLS way. To that end, in corporate settings, a 2 by 2 framework that assesses consequence and reversibility clarifies decision-making in most scenarios. Again, the assumption I make is that time/urgency is not as pressing in a boardroom as it is on the mountains and that business have time in making the biggest consequential and irreversible decisions.
A question: I couldn't work out why Delegate is at the highest level of Group Involvement on the x-axis. I would put Delegate just before Directive with the logic that if the captain isn't deciding, she would want her deputy to whom she delegates to decide. What am I missing?