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Best decision-making model to drive agility?

#NimbleVlog Season 03 Episode 05 — To be nimble, organizations must make decisions in a timely fashion and at the right level in the business. Interestingly, the most popular decision frameworks are not the best for day-to-day, agile decision making… So, which model should you use to drive nimbleness? In this new episode of the #NimbleVlog, ORCHANGO’s president & co-founder Edmond Mellina addresses the question…


Reading time: 3-4 minutes

To be nimble, organizations need to make decisions in a timely fashion and at the right level in the business.

I’m not talking here about big strategic decisions – these are few and far between. Instead, I’m referring to the thousands of smaller decisions that the organization makes throughout the year.

The most popular frameworks are not the best for nimbleness

Do an internet search on the phrase “decision making frameworks” and you will get a plethora of options.

Interestingly, the most popular frameworks – i.e. the ones that are going to be featured prominently on your search results – are not the best for nimbleness… Which one to pick then for agility?

Let’s start with a brief history of the three classic decision-making frameworks.

The grand-daddy is the RACI framework. It appeared in the 50’s and it’s unclear who invented it. However, it’s not really a decision-making model. Instead, it is a tool for the execution of decisions.

In the 80’s, software company Intuit came up with the DACI model – which is for both decision making and execution.

During the dot-com era, strategy consulting firm Bain & Co trademarked its RAPID® framework. It is perfectly suited for big, strategic decisions and their executions.

Over the years, a bunch of alternatives appeared for each of these three classic frameworks.

The problem with these frameworks

The problem is that they tend to be quite complicated – which is not conducive to nimble, day-to-day decision making.

To start with, the acronyms under which they are known are at least four letters and up to seven. That’s too many letters, it’s not easy to remember and it can be confusing as a result.

Also, they are all incorporating an element of execution. Don’t get me wrong, execution is absolutely critical. What is the point in making decisions if you don’t implement them?!

However, by bridging decision making and execution, these frameworks complicate the matter. And when things are complicated, well, it goes against agility!

DCI / ACI: lesser known but great for agility

If you keep going through your internet search – and assuming you look very carefully – you will eventually find a few mentions of a simpler alternative to the DACI model.

It’s mostly referred to as DCI model: D stands for Decision Maker; C for Consulted; I for Informed. But sometimes, instead of C for Consulted, you will find A for Advice Givers. In that case, the framework is referred to as DAI, but it’s the same thing as DCI.

Three characteristics make this less popular framework perfectly suited for day-to-day, agile decision making.

First, it focusses squarely on decision-making; it doesn’t try to tackle execution.

Second, with only three letters – DCI or DAI – it is easy to remember.

Third, the roles corresponding to each of these three letters are pretty straightforward. There is no confusion there.

In other words, DCI – also known as DAI – doesn’t try to boil the ocean; it’s easy to remember; and it’s clear and pragmatic.

For agility’s sake, give it a try!

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Headshot Of Edmond Mellina, ORCHANGO's President & Co-Founder

Edmond is ORCHANGO's president & co-founder.

He is internationally respected for his expertise in nimble change leadership and culture change. For the past 30 years, he has been executing strategic transformations, building agile capabilities, and advising clients across sectors in Europe, North America and the Middle East.

He is a former corporate transformation executive in drastically changing industries: CIO at Delta Hotels when Expedia disrupted the hotel business; and VP Corporate Development & General Manager USA for the technology business of Envoy Communication Group when design and marketing agencies started to become digital.

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