Saving good ideas from death-by-committee

Brad Coffey of Hubspot offers a thoughtful anti-dote to the death-by-committee problem for good ideas at organizations that have grown past a certain stage:

  1. Give teams goals, and the autonomy to hit those goals.  Don’t legislate the process – only the end results
  2. Keep teams small. Don’t let the room get too large so people can make decisions and move forward.
  3. Identify a DRI (designated responsible individual).  That person owns the decision, not the entire room.  This is critical for cross functional decisions.
  4. Require transparency. Hold people accountable to these decisions by reviewing the success of the decision, and then keep iterating.

 Read the entire post.

Updated:  The same topic was covered in Fred Wilson’s MBA Mondays in a guest post by Scott Kurnit founder of About.com on company culture:

Input, not consensus: This may be the biggest for me since it’s the major thing I can point to for why AOL crushed Prodigy in the pre-internet online world. I still have nightmares of 18 people sitting around a table trying to make a pricing decision. It took Prodigy over a year to adjust pricing to be more in line with – and trump AOL and it took Steve Case’s AOL one measly day to respond. One year… one day. I still get chills. Rather than have the indecision of 18 people, pick one to be the decider as the very first action. Trust me, that person feels the weight and authority when they own the decision. They’ll get a ton of input… rather than having endless discussions. Group decision-making makes people fearful of engaging with the concern that it will never end. When one person’s in charge… they want to hear it all. And fast. And get it right. And crisp. And done!

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