Written By Bob Schindler, Chief Operating Officer of CEDE SPORTS
When Do You Involve Others in Decisions?
“I am thinking about whether to offer basketball this year to 3rd and 4th graders.”
In a recent conversation with a sports, rec, and fitness leader, she told me that the person in charge of sports had resigned somewhat unexpectedly. This resignation left the leader understaffed, wondering how to handle the approaching seasons with the limited capacity.
We talked through several of the ideas she had for dealing with the dilemma when she said this statement, “I am thinking about whether to offer basketball this year to 3rd & 4th graders.” She explained her reasoning and concerns about cutting these grades. I was impressed with how hard and well she had worked through this idea.
Why ask others?
The conversation turned to asking others for input. We addressed the why first. I outlined the following reasons
- Involving others helps the leader by generating additional solutions that weren’t previously on the table.
- Involving others helps the leader to anticipate objections and deal with those objections to that decision as it is communicated more broadly.
- Involving others helps the leader gain cooperation with the change being made
Thinking Through It
Fleshing out those reasons, I suggested she get some input from her staff and some key parents involved in the league, especially those with 3rd and 4th graders. As we talked further, she asked
“How do you know when to involve others in a decision?”
I thought it was a great question but immediately acknowledged the fact that there is no cut and dry way to answer that question or an easy extreme of always or never to run to. I suggested the following questions to help move toward an answer:
- Is there time to get others involved? The timing of some decisions preclude the opportunity to get others’ input.
- What is the level of impact of the decision on others? Different decisions have different impact. Changing the furniture in a Family Life Center has less of an impact than whether to have 3rd and 4th grade basketball.
- How important is the cooperation of those impacted by the decision? In the case of whether to do basketball or not, because of the impact on existing staff and parents and the importance of their cooperation, I recommended the leader talk to both groups or representatives of both – particularly the parents. Generally, the greater the input into a decision, the greater the cooperation.
- Are the reasons for and the principles surrounding the decision clear and articulated? If you aren’t clear on those reasons and principles and you ask someone, “Should we have basketball for 3rd and 4th graders this season?” they are left to answer out of sheer preference. If you have those outlined, this provides a great preface to the consideration of the decision at hand. “Because we are short staffed and need to keep things simple and not overtax our staff, we are wondering whether to do basketball for 3rd and 4th graders this season. What do you think?”
What do you think?
These are some suggestions. I am sure there are many others. The value of additional input seems clearer than when to involve others.
How do you know when to include others in decisions?