I work in a team called Circus, which provides BICS with resource and support to develop wholeness, purpose and self-management.
Recently one of my colleagues (Paul Macauley) posted about our journey so far and some of the basic principles that are important for working in this way.
In this post I wanted to explore our advice process and share some recent learning. In our team (as in most shared-managing teams) we believe that everyone can (and will) make decisions. We have a collective purpose which guides us to where we are going but we don’t need to defer to someone else’s judgement every time we need to get something done. It sounds simple but it can be a scary prospect. There are no line managers to hide behind and no one else to blame.
In our team we are often responsible for pieces of work that effect the whole organisation, and an increased sense of responsibility that comes with this way of working can often be overwhelming. It is also an unusual place to find one’s self. In school I was taught to defer to teachers, in previous jobs I was taught to defer to line managers, it is safe to say that no one has ever really taught me how to make a good decision. This has meant that I have often felt like I was making it up as I went along.
So how does it work? It’s really simple, as an issue holder (the person who has recognised a need and has vision and energy to follow the idea from start to finish) you need to seek advice from:
a) Those people who your decision will effect meaningfully (what would traditionally be your stakeholders but let’s call them your friend, family and colleagues. This may also be the people)
b) Those that have more experience in the decision topic than yourself (your experts)
c) Make your decision (and feedback to those involved in the advice process)
In practice it is a simple and elegant solution. Most people will be aware that groups are not very good at making decisions. A decision by consensus often leads to drawn out process and a compromise of the original vision driving a piece of work. However groups are an excellent place to capture shared learning for individuals to draw upon. As an issue holder who will be seeing the vision through to delivery, it makes sense for you to be doing the work.
Over the last year my experience and observation is that the best advice processes are ones that work with a clear sense of vision and a connection to purpose. As an issue holder, if you aren’t clear on the advice points then you can end up more confused and muddled then when you started. Understanding why you are seeking advice is just as important as how you do it.
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