Saturday, March 02, 2013

Delegated Decisions

          "We try to give people responsibility and push it down as far as possible”
"We push decision-making to the lowest practical level, people empowered to make vital decisions, to take advantage of fleeting opportunities"
Delegated control is a fast and flexible approach to command to facilitate rapid decision-making. Instructions are given in the form of intent, not detail. The method of execution is decided by the project team members who should possess superior local situational or specialist knowledge to find an approach that best achieves the intent. Management burden is reduced at the top and spread to team members more knowledgeable about their own situation. Initiative is encouraged at all levels. As a result, significant decisions can be implemented in time for maximum effect. Components of this approach included setting clear goals; empowering an experienced team to achieve those goals; and providing as much flexibility as possible, allowing the team to adapt quickly, and with guiding goals, to the dynamics of the environment. Faster decision-making and delegated execution were central elements of the highly successful German Blitzkrieg tactic during World War 2 (Frieser & Greenwood, 2005).

         "Empowering people allows rapid reaction … [and] requires trust."
"We promote initiative on the ground; allow flexibility to take advantage of fleeting moments; and allow flexibility with the key higher level objective in mind."
Turner and Crawford’s (1998) study of 243 cases of corporate change showed how empowerment had a very positive impact on change effectiveness. Graetz et al. (2006) contend...

Managers today have to delegate because they can no longer be subject matter experts.

Managers need to rely on capable and trusted personnel distributed across the entire organisation.

Another way to achieve informed yet timely decisions, is to maintain very high levels of situational awareness.

Simon Collyer

Collyer, S., Warren, C., Hemsley, B., & Stevens, C. (2010). Aim Fire Aim - Project Planning Styles in Dynamic Environments, Project Management Journal, 41(4), 108-121. doi: 10.1002/pmj.20199
Collyer, S., Warren, C. M. J. (2009). Project Management Approaches for Dynamic Environments, International Journal of Project Management, 27(4), 355-364
Graetz, F., Rimmer, M., Lawrence, A., & Smith, A. (2006). Managing Organisational Change. Milton, QLD: Wiley & Sons.
Turner, D., & Crawford, M. (1998). Change Power: Capabilities that Drive Corporate Renewal. Warriewood NSW: Business and Professional Publishing.