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How Fair Process Increases Your Team’s Commitment


In today’s fast-paced business world, keeping your team happy and involved is more important than ever. This is where the idea of “Fair Process” comes in. It’s all about making sure your team feels involved and fairly treated when decisions are made. Think of it as making sure everyone on the team feels heard, understood, and valued, even if they don’t get their way every time.

Understanding Fair Process

Imagine you’re playing a game where the rules keep changing, but nobody tells you what’s going on. Frustrating, right? Fair Process is the opposite of that. It’s about making sure everyone knows how decisions are made and feels like they’re part of the process. This way, even if someone doesn’t like the final decision, they’re more likely to go along with it because they feel like they were treated fairly.

Fair Process is not some mumbo jumbo stuff. It is backed by research by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne (authors of Blue Ocean Strategy and recently released Beyond Disruption: Innovate and Achieve Growth without Displacing Industries, Companies, or Jobs).

Why Fair Process Matters Now

We’re in an era where what you know and think matters more than ever. Companies thrive on new ideas and innovation. For this to happen, everyone from the intern to the CEO needs to feel like they can speak up and contribute. Fair Process makes this possible by creating an environment of trust and respect.

Making the Most of Your Team’s Potential

By embracing Fair Process, you’re not just making decisions; you’re unlocking the creativity and potential of your team. It’s like turning your workplace into a think tank where everyone’s ideas can bubble up to the surface. This can lead to better strategies, products, and services, giving your company a competitive edge.

Building Trust and Teamwork

One of the coolest things about Fair Process is that it helps build trust. When team members see that their opinions matter and that decisions are explained clearly, they’re more likely to throw their full support behind the team’s goals. This leads to a more cooperative and enthusiastic team.

Encouraging New Ideas

Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens when different viewpoints and ideas collide. Fair Process encourages this kind of open dialogue, making your team a hotbed for innovation and creative problem-solving.

The Three Pillars of Fair Process

Fair Process stands on three main principles: engagement, explanation, and expectation. By involving your team in decisions, explaining the reasons behind them, and being clear about what’s expected afterward, you create a workplace where respect, trust, and collaboration are the norm.

Implementing these principles within a documented decision-making process in Way We Do’s process platform, can guide managers and ensure that these critical phases are consistently followed. Here’s how each principle can be mapped out and utilized:

1. Engagement: Involving Your Team

In Practice:

  • Create Participation Opportunities: Set up structured forums or meetings where team members can voice their ideas and concerns. Use Way We Do’s Activated Checklist to schedule these sessions and outline their agendas, ensuring that all team members have the opportunity to prepare and contribute.
  • Document Contributions: Keep a record of who contributes ideas and feedback in the decision-making process. This can be done through collaborative documents within Way We Do, providing a transparent trail of participation.
  • Diverse Perspectives: Encourage input from a wide range of team members, ensuring that different departments, seniority levels, and backgrounds are represented. This diversity can lead to more innovative solutions and a greater sense of fairness.

2. Explanation: Making the “Why” Clear

In Practice:

  • Rationale Documentation: For each decision made, document the reasoning behind it in your Way We Do Activated Checklist instance. This includes the objectives, the alternatives considered, and the reasons for the final choice. Make this documentation accessible to all team members to review.
  • Feedback Loop: Implement a system where employees can ask questions or seek further clarification about decisions. This could be a dedicated Q&A section where managers can provide detailed responses.
  • Transparent Criteria: Clearly outline the criteria used for making decisions. This includes any metrics, values, or priorities that guided the decision-making process, ensuring that team members understand what factors are considered.

3. Expectation Clarity: Setting the Stage for What Comes Next

In Practice:

  • Define Roles and Responsibilities: After a decision is made, use Way We Do to assign specific roles and responsibilities related to the implementation of the decision, and any specific policies and procedures. This ensures that everyone knows what is expected of them moving forward.
  • Timeline and Milestones: Establish a clear timeline with milestones for implementing the decision. Document this timeline in Way We Do and make it visible to all team members, providing a shared understanding of the process and its expected outcomes.
  • Feedback and Adjustment Mechanisms: Set up regular check-ins and review points within a Way We Do meeting management process to assess progress and make adjustments as needed. This keeps the process dynamic and responsive to new information or challenges.

Implementing Fair Process as a Workflow

By setting up these three pillars as a workflow in Way We Do, managers can ensure that the process is followed systematically. Each phase of the workflow can be designed to prompt the necessary actions and documentation, making it easier for managers to adopt and maintain Fair Process in their management practices. This structured approach not only enhances decision-making but also reinforces a culture of transparency, respect, and collaboration within the organization.

Incorporating Fair Process as a documented workflow in Way We Do not only assists managers in adhering to these principles but also provides a clear, transparent framework that all team members can understand and engage with. This systematic approach ensures that the engagement, explanation, and expectation clarity phases are integral parts of the decision-making process, fostering a more inclusive, motivated, and aligned team.

How to Make Fair Process Work

Fair Process isn’t about everyone agreeing all the time. It’s about making sure all voices are heard and considered. As a leader, you might still make the final call, but you do it with the input and understanding of your team.

Overcoming Challenges

Switching to Fair Process isn’t always easy. It means letting go of the old “command and control” way of doing things and embracing a more open, transparent approach. This can be tough, especially if you’re used to making all the decisions. But the payoff — more trust, better ideas, and a more committed team — is well worth it.

Putting Fair Process into Action

So, how can you start using Fair Process in your own team? Start by really listening to your team members and involving them in decisions that affect them. Explain your thinking clearly and make sure everyone knows what’s expected after a decision is made. And remember, it’s about the journey as much as the destination. By focusing on how decisions are made, not just the outcomes, you can build a stronger, more innovative team.

Fair Process isn’t just a nice idea; it’s a must-have in today’s idea-driven workplace. By making it part of how you operate, you can unlock the full potential of your team and steer your company towards greater success.

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