Episode 18 | How to make and communicate decisions remotely

Episode 5 November 15, 2023 00:06:03
Episode 18 | How to make and communicate decisions remotely
Remote Culture Club with Alix Dunn
Episode 18 | How to make and communicate decisions remotely

Nov 15 2023 | 00:06:03


Show Notes

How does your team make decisions? Are individuals empowered to make choices on their own, or does everything happen by committee? In remote life, clearly making and communicating decisions can make or break teams, enabling work or grinding its pace to a halt.

In this mini-episode, Alix looks at the different types of decision making that happen on remote teams and unpacks how to bring more clarity to your team’s approach.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:07] Speaker A: Welcome to the Remote Culture Club podcast. On this show we inspire and equip leaders to build remote culture that works. I'm your host Alex Dunn, and even though I've been leading remote organizations for over ten years, I'm always learning more. It's really nice to have you here. And without further ado, welcome to the show. [00:00:25] Speaker B: It one challenge we hear all the time in remote teamwork is how to understand and communicate where and when decisions happen. Decision making is at the crux of any kind of organizational management and work, and it's no wonder that in an environment that is remote that decisions become more fraught. It needs to be more explicit and you need to create structures around it. And there's two types of decisions that we see a lot within organizations, and I find these two categories really helpful for helping unpack, where there might be frustration or issues or miscommunication or over communication to get to a decision. So I'm going to describe each of these types of decisions within a remote setting and talk a little bit about what you need if you're making either one of the decisions. So the two types of decisions that we see really frequently in remote settings are autonomous decisions. So these are decisions that an individual can take without engaging with colleagues. So if you're in a time zone where there's no one online, doesn't matter, you get to make the decision because it's an autonomous decision. It's part of your role. It's spelled out as something that you've got the autonomy, the information and the responsibility to make. The second type of decision is a consultative decision. So this is a decision that requires input from other people, whether they are more senior, whether they have particular expertise, whether they need to be consulted because they're implicated in the output from that decision, or what comes out of that decision. So I imagine you can already start seeing these in your own work, and I imagine you can also start understanding quite quickly that not doing this well is one of the reasons that decision making can be difficult. We're not being clear on which of these a decision is, but in autonomous decisions, what's important is one that it's clear that someone can make an autonomous decision. Because what you don't want is that someone who you want to be making autonomous decisions is trying to make everything consultative. Sometimes that's about confidence, sometimes that's about role clarity, sometimes that's about experience. People need that sort of consultation to feel like they're in a position to make a choice. But what you really want is for people that are in a situation to make autonomous decisions that they're making them, but that they're providing timely updates about the decisions they've made. That can include context about how they came to the decision. That can include just that the decision has been made. That can include indications to colleagues about what that decision implies for their work. So, autonomous decisions, you want people making them as much as possible. But if it's an autonomous decision, you also really need them to come back to the team with information about the fact that that decision had been made. Because what happens if an autonomous decision happens and people aren't informed is it can create all kinds of miscommunication and frustration. With a consultative decision, you want people to know who is involved and when they're involved and what you expect of them in a consultative decision, a lot of times, people aren't clear, when am I going to get to weigh in on my thoughts? Or are we working through this consultative decision based on a process? Is this a kind of decision that we have a step by step way of doing it because it implicates a particular type of decision, let's say hiring or something? And in all the ways that it's consultative, you need to be clear about what people can expect when they can expect it, what you want from them. Different people may have different expertise, and you want to pull them into the process to provide different perspective, maybe even at different points in the decision making process. So it's really consultative decisions. What's really clear is that you articulate the process and how people can get involved in what you're expecting of them. So I suspect if you took a look at all the decisions you've made in the last week, let's say you make a lot of decisions. Hopefully there's a bunch you can think of mentally sort of sort through them which were autonomous. So which were ones that you just made a choice and went with it? And which were consultative? How clear was it that it was one or the other? For autonomous decisions you've made? Did you update people well? Were you clear after that decision was made? And did you bring people into the loop? And then on consultative decisions, how clear was it that it was consultative? Did you bring people in in a way that was helpful and clear to them? Did people add value to your decision making process? Because if not, there might be some other issues. I'll leave it there. But just think a little bit about that distinction between autonomous and consultative. And if there's anything that you're doing consultatively that you can make autonomous, that's also another goal is because in remote work, the more you can make autonomous decisions, the more free you are to actually work in truly remote and distributed ways rather than just sort of half in an office or sort of half across time zones. I hope that was helpful. Thanks for listening and talk to you soon. You sam.

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