Self organised decision making
Last week a large software vendor invited mondora to visit their headquarters in the United States, and they agreed with us that they would provide tickets for one person from the company. As the CEO I was informed of this by the vendor who asked me to give them the name of the employee who would travel so that they could make the necessary travel arrangements.
In a traditional company, as the CEO I would have chosen myself which of my employees would be travelling. But how are decisions made in a self organised company?
I would like to use this case as an example to illustrate some of the techniques we use daily to make decisions in a transparent and self organised way in mondora.
An important consideration to keep in mind when making a decision together is that often people decide things in ways that can actually hinder the making of the decision! For example, if you ask a group of people “who would like to go to the US?” some of these people, those with a stronger temperament, will dominate over the rest and likely have a better chance of being the ones who travel. People with a more introverted, melancholic or shy personality get pushed back by more extrovert, choleric or entrepreneurial characters, who are the ones that end up with the tickets.
In order to avoid this kind of situation we present the decision to the group through the use of specific tools and techniques.
In this particular case I adopted the pattern of “three decisions for each person”. Each employee had the possibility of voting online for three colleagues and could vote for herself or himself only once. The voting process closed in 24 hours so that we were able to provide the software vendor with a quick and “easy” answer. The vote was considered valid if the majority of the employees in mondora expressed at least one preference.
Counting the votes was a simple process: we counted the number of votes that each colleague received, summarised it and put it in a visual scoreboard that we then shared with everyone.
The first stage of the decision process involved collecting all the votes and making an ordered list of candidates. The whole process is always 100% transparent and of course everyone was aware of the “three decisions for each person” rule.
Once the ranking list was ready, the people who had the highest number of votes had to decide in a very short time if they were willing to accept the results. If for example the highest voted candidate did not accept the result, the choice would go to the person with the second-highest vote and so on.
In the case of a draw between two or more people, there would be a second voting round with these names only and with a time limit of six hours.
We usually find the winner within 24 hours at most, and the great thing is that the whole process is not viewed as a race. This decisional technique is particularly powerful because it creates reputation among colleagues. Everyone is called upon to think carefully about each of his or her colleagues and those who rank highest understand that they were personally voted for: it’s a special privilege and an indicator of high peer esteem.
This process of making decisions creates a very positive mood and people are always happy to gift their colleagues with a vote! Equally important to this is the ability of the company to make decisions without any one person taking on exclusive decisional powers.
The main tech tools we use for making decisions in this way are Loomio and Google Forms. We use Loomio to discuss ideas and Google Forms to capture the actual votes. Decisions are made entirely without the usual “mess” of lengthy email threads and endless meetings.
For this particular decision of travelling to the US, the colleague who received the most votes and who accepted the offer is Alessandro Poli, who is now looking forward to his trip!
What about your company? How are decisions made and who makes them? Do you get a vote? Let us know and share your best practices with us!