Business Planning – Decide Who Gets To Decide & How

Make up your mind who gets to have input, and who gets to decide.

It may sound simple, but it isn’t often. In some organizations, they vote on everything. That isn’t leadership at all, that is a recipe for disaster. We are talking about writing plans and statements that define what your organization will become. It requires vision, leadership, and accountability. If you want a statement about what you are now, then involve everyone and vote on everything. You may need that actually to decide how much you need to change. But when it comes to planning, it is time to lead.


Who gets to decide? – Include people who either have ownership, or directly report to people who have ownership. Choose people who will be there long enough to feel the ramifications of the plan and make sure they are people who will actually feel the ramifications. Respected, retired founders are good for guidance, but they don’t get to make decisions.  Choose people who believe that change is not just inevitable, but desirable…if you don’t you won’t get change.

Who gets to have input? – Now this is entirely different. I think the paragraph above makes this pretty clear. You can ask for ideas from anyone you want. A lot of ideas is usually good. But even if you get input from someone, you are NOT obligated to use it, like it, or even respect it. You need to be a filter, not a sponge. Don’t throw something out just because it makes you uncomfortable, but don’t include it just because it makes you feel good. Be open-minded, but not ridiculous. Consider who gave you the input. If you are not a good filter, then be very careful who you solicit input from.

How is the decision made? – If your organization is truly yours, and only yours, than you need to be fully responsible in the end. If it isn’t, you need a different plan. Consensus among leaders (voting by stakeholders for example) can be very good if they are truly the people you decided get to decide. You still will likely need to decide what is considered a decision (66% of the vote?) and what has no consensus.  What happens when there is no consensus? Nothing (I hate that choice)?

Now just make a decision on how to decide so you can make more decisions better and faster going forward.

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