How to use Advice Process for better decision-making
We often think that decisions can be made in only two general ways: either through hierarchical authority (someone calls the shots; many people might be frustrated, but at least things get done) or through consensus (everyone gets a say, but it’s often frustratingly slow and sometimes things get bogged down because no consensus can be reached.
We invented an original way of making decison named the Advice Process:
Rule is very simple: Anyone can make any decision, but must seek advice from parties and experts impacted by the changes.
The advice process transcends this opposition beautifully: the agony of putting all decisions to consensus is avoided, and yet everybody with a stake has been given a voice; people have the freedom to seize opportunities and make decisions and yet must take into account other people’s voices.
The process is key to making self-management work on a large scale.
It is actually so critical that at AES colleagues know that forgetting to uphold the advice process is one of the few things that can get them fired (using a collaborative conflict resolution process).
Seek advice from all affected parties and people with expertise on the matter.
It is very simple: in principle, any person in the organization can make any decision. But before doing so, that person must seek advice from all affected parties and people with expertise on the matter.
The person is under no obligation to integrate every piece of advice; the point is not to achieve a watered-down compromise that accommodates everybody’s wishes. But advice must be sought and taken into serious consideration.
The bigger the decision, the wider the net must be cast including, when necessary, the CEO or the board of directors. Usually, the decision maker is the person who noticed the issue or the opportunity or the person most affected by it.
There is no static format for collecting advices. People can communicate with their colleagues using individual discussion or ask for group meetings. When large groups are affected by a decision, e-mail or intranet is often the best way to gather feedback.