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Sharing Decision Making At All Levels Of The Organisation



As organisations strive to better serve their communities, embracing a collaborative approach has become increasingly important. Not only is it the right thing to do, but by sharing power and ownership at multiple levels, organisations can ensure their strategies and services truly meet client needs. In this article I explore a framework for facilitating shared decision-making across an organisation.


Setting Strategic Direction Together


At the strategic level, getting input from those with lived experience provides a more well-rounded perspective for boards and executives setting organisational direction. Advisory boards are an effective model, giving clients a seat at the table to directly inform priorities. This balances internal knowledge with external realities on the ground. 


It also reduces pressure on boards, who no longer need to operate in an information vacuum. With advisors, strategic planning becomes a collaborative process of understanding both internal capabilities and external community needs. Various models like rotating engagement groups can also work to regularly incorporate diverse viewpoints.


Co-Designing Programs and Services


When improving or creating new programs and services, co-design through collaborative workshops is ideal. It ensures offerings truly meet client needs from the start. However, ongoing feedback is also important for existing programs to prevent drift from client-centricity over time. 


The most innovative organisations establish clear engagement processes and structures to facilitate easy input at this level. For example, having a pre-existing group familiar with the organisation, makes participation simple for all. Documentation outlining participation guidelines ensures anyone within the organisation can obtain stakeholder perspectives to enhance their work.


Flexibility in Individualised Support


While co-designed programs aim to benefit many, the reality is no "one-size-fits-all" approach works for personalised support. Individual needs and preferences vary widely. Facilitating choice requires flexibility to be built into service delivery. 


Co-creating support plans with clients allows their needs, goals and desired outcomes to directly inform the support journey. Recent years have thankfully moved away from care plans done "to" people without input. Most progressive organisations now work "with" individuals to jointly determine the best path forward based on what really matters most to them.



Incorporating shared leadership and ownership through inclusive decision-making at strategic, program and individual levels leads to better alignment between missions and lived realities. With some upfront planning, any group can implement a framework to strengthen partnerships, empower clients and continuously improve services for communities.


Now, I wanna hear your thoughts, how has your organisation successfully involved clients and stakeholders in decision-making processes? What impact did it have on your strategic direction or service delivery?


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