The alternative to decision making is transparency.

Transparency is to do away with assuming and thinking

What is transparent to one may still be confusing to another. Transparency may be said to be achieved when the one who is providing transparency (“the expert”) is able to communicate in such a way that nobody has to think, and nobody has to make assumptions.

Transparency with respect to a certain topic can only be created by an expert in this topic. For example, it is the obligation of the one who wants to achieve a desired outcome to provide transparency with respect to the various aspects of this desired outcome. Likewise, it is the obligation of the one who will contribute to achieve this desired outcome to provide transparency as to how this will be achieved.

As long as someone is still thinking or has to make assumptions the communication is still too complex. The communication is to be so simple that nobody is thinking anymore.

Transparency is not objective and has to be actively ensured

Transparency is not objective and can not be presumed. Even in absence of thinking wrong assumptions may still be made. A description of context (‘event conditions’), avoidance of technical terminology and jargon, but especially the use of non-ambiguous metrics contribute to transparent communication. Actively ensuring that transparency has been achieved, however, remains pivotal in avoiding decision making. This is the responsibility of the expert in the topic being communicated.

Metrics is the language of transparency

The use of metrics may transform communication into a simple, non-technical and very efficient language requiring no interpretation and resulting in immediate understanding by all involved. Examples of metrics are ‘number of times’, ‘number of defects’, ‘% of cost deviation’, ‘customer satisfaction’.

Transparency allows for approvals instead of decisions

Oftentimes managers are not “willing” to make decisions but simply forced to. They don’t have the time — and it is not their responsibility — to go through the details of every proposal or activity put in front of them. In such circumstances managers have to go by their gut feeling, or rely on their own relevant professional experience. They have to make decisions.

The alternative is to “enforce transparency”. Instead of making decisions managers are to approve or disapprove. If a proposal is made transparent to the manager, so he/she no longer has to think, it is approved. If it is not transparent the manager has to disapprove as there are still risks attached. The proposal may not be bad, but if the one who is proposing is an expert in his field he/she must be able to make it transparent why the proposal was made in the first place.

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The approach of Decision Free Solutions uses four steps (DICE), five principles (TONNNO) and the role of the Decision Free Leader (DFL) to achieve this. An introduction to the approach of Decision Free Solutions is provided in a short article you will find here.

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