News Leadership 3.0

August 12, 2008

Tools for innovators

Leadership report:
First, decide
who decides

In newsrooms, often, everyone wants to be part of the decision and no one really wants to take the final step. So decision-making can be very slow (or occasionally too fast when one person decides without meaningful input). Also, decisions that reflect consensus can be so watered down that they don’t accomplish much. RAID is a process to clarify who is responsible for making a decision and who has advisory power on a given project.

Stacy Lynch, a consultant and project manager at Media Management Center, helped implement RAID as Innovations Director at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This is one in a series of posts about presentations and discussions at KDMC’s annual Leadership Conference last month (more explanation here). Lynch’s presentation on speeding decision-making gave a snapshot of this tool.

The acronym RAID stands for different roles:
- Recommend: Part of the team to weigh options and design recommendation(s)
- Agree: Have reviewed, weighed in and will implement (this one has implicit veto power).
- Inform: Offer subject expertise and information needed to make a decision
- Decide: Chooses among options, makes final decisions


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In her presentation, Lynch used the example of an organization looking at adding social networking to its travel site. In virtually every key part of that decision, typically, anywhere from three to five departments believe they are the decision-maker. For example, in Lynch’s “typical” slide (top), news, IT and the executive office each thinks it is the decision-maker on a final prototype. Everyone thinks they are deciding the launch date. That’s a formula for misunderstanding, conflict and delay.

The goal of RAID, Lynch says, is to have “one D on each decision. The (project development) team should have the D as often as you feel they are capable of making that decision.”

Lynch showed a better application of RAID (bottom) to the plan for the travel site. One department alone decides a given issue (the exec office decides on a final prototype, the project team decides the launch date). This model has a lot more Agree and Inform roles—which means everyone gets to have a say without bogging down the process.

Go to Lynch’s presentation for more detail.

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Exploring innovation, transformation and leadership in a new ecosystem of news, by journalist and change advocate Michele McLellan.

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