7 Levels of Delegation is interesting but it doesn’t answer an important question:
What about veto?
What do you do at level 2, i.e. when you try to sell a decision but the recipients don’t buy-in?
What do you do at level 3 when you consult people. Can they veto your decision? Same at level 5: when I advise, do I have veto-power?
By the way, this question is not specific to 7 Levels of Delegation. It’s missing in standard RACI, too.
In RACI the C represents “(To be) Consulted”. Does this imply veto power?
Well, that depends on the interpretation that an organization chooses. I have seen various interpretations in the field. Some require the consultation, some allow veto power, some require consultation before proceeding with the process:
Remarks on the items in the table:
#1: This is basically an option to get support or advice from others. Some RACI “dialects” use a dedicated collaboration typed called “Support” for other purposes, though, as part of the “Responsible” collaboration role.
#2: Depending on the people involved, this may be extremely fruitful or totally useless, i.e. the outcome is arbitrary.
Imagine a motivated person seeking advice from a respected co-worker to pick her brain. Very fruitful and exciting.
Now imagine someone who is forced to consult someone he or she does not like or respect, maybe for good reasons (when the adviser is objectively not senior enough for the role) or any bad reason out of “pride and prejudice”.
#3: Effectively a bottleneck, i.e. the value added by this collaboration or the risk mitigated by it should be worth the delay. Unfortunately, in many companies the Sign-Off collaboration is pervasive and default, indicating a culture of fear and mistrust.
Nevertheless, there are absolutely valid key decision areas that require a Sign-Off. Imagine a work contract or any other contract for that matter. Once it’s done and signed there’s no cheap and easy turning back. Also, it might be illegal (SOX, anyone?).
Or picture medical decisions that are literally a matter of life and death. In some key decision areas it makes a lot of sense to require explicit sign-offs
#4: This collaboration supports process flow while ensuring intervention power for stakeholders.
Some variations of this use thresholds, e.g. if only up to €20K is at stake then “Intervention” power is OK while more than €20K requires a sign-off.
As a result I propose a combination of “7 Levels of Delegation” with “Extended RACI” that incorporates all those ideas. I’d like to call it “14 Levels of Collaboration“.
|1||Own||I own the key decision area and I’m not obliged to ask nor inform others about details. I may, however, be required to deliver results according to objectives and key results at defined points in time and will be assessed accordingly.|
|2||Tell||I own the key decision area and I make decisions for others or I instruct them to perform tasks within the key decision area (in a responsible or supportive role). I may explain my motivation, however a discussion about it is neither desired nor assumed.|
|3||Sell||I own the key decision area and I’m obliged to explain decisions to others aiming at their buy-in. However, getting their buy-in is not mandatory in order to proceed.|
|4||Inform||I own the key decision area and I’m obliged to keep others informed.|
|5||Consult experts||I own the key decision area and I’m obliged to consult experts. However, they have no veto power and their advice is non-binding.|
|6||Consult stakeholders afterward||I own the key decision area and I’m obliged to consult others. They have veto power but it is not necessary to wait for their approval to continue with the process.|
|7||Consult stakeholders beforehand||I own the key decision area and I’m obliged to consult others. They have veto power and it is necessary to get their explicit approval (=Sign-Off) before continuing with the process.|
|8||Agree||I share ownership / accountability with co-equal others. Mutual agreement must be reached in order to proceed.|
|9||Sign-Off||I don’t own the key decision area but at some point(s) I make the process stop so I can do my assessment and give my sign-off.
|10||Intervention||I don’t own the key decision area and the process needn’t stop and wait for me. However, I have the authority to intervene and enforce changes whenever I encounter a problem.
|11||Advise||I must be asked for my expertise but my advice is non-binding and I cannot veto the accountable person’s decision.|
|12||(To be) Informed||I don’t own the key decision area but I have the right to be informed about decisions.|
|13||Inquire/Buy-in||I don’t own the key decision area but I’d like to be convinced of the wisdom of the decision. If I don’t agree I may say so but I don’t have the authority to veto the decision.|
|14||Delegated||I don’t own the key decision area and I leave the decisions to the owner and, potentially, the people that she instructed to perform tasks.
If I’m only a stakeholder then I don’t even want information about it anymore.
If I’m the “delegator” then I don’t even want to be informed about details anymore. However, I may define objectives and key results that I require in order to utilize and/or assess the delegated work.
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