The R.A.P.I.D. method

Decisions are critical in the business world. Every success or failure, every well-taken or wasted opportunity is the consequence of a decision. No matter the industry in which the company operates, how brilliant its strategy may be, its size or the brand’s renown in the marketplace. If right decisions cannot be made in a rapid and effective way, balance sheets will end up reflecting it in the medium term. To that effect, the main cause of inefficiency is the ambiguity about who is accountable for each decision. This can be clarified by using the R.A.P.I.D. model to assign well-defined roles to each person taking part in those processes considered as key for the company ―which new markets to penetrate, where to invest, how to innovate in the product range―.

It should be clearly established:

  • Who must make recommendations in the decision-making process.
  • Who agrees to the suggestion before progressing in the process.
  • Who must provide input to ensure the feasibility of the decision.
  • Who makes the final decision.
  • Who performs the decision taken.

Once these figures are clearly defined, taking the right decisions in a rapid and effective way is much easier. 

R.A.P.I.D. stands for Recommend, Agree, Perform, Input and Decide.

Who…

Must…

Recommends

  • Propose a key decision for the company. To that end, he/she must obtain data and analyse them to support the “good sense” of the decision.
  • Talk to the people in charge of providing their input, listen to them and include their vision.

Agrees

  • Negotiate changes in the proposal with the person doing the recommendation, in the event of his/her being reluctant to accept the original proposal.
  • Try to solve the questions on which there is disagreement, transferring the issue to the person who takes the final decision.
  • Veto the recommendation, if deemed appropriate.

provides Input

  • Give the recommender reasons on the feasibility and practical implications of the decision.

Decides

  • Accept responsibility for the decision.
  • Solve any disagreement that may have arisen during the decision-making process.

Performs

  • Implement the decision taken.
  • Monitor its effective implementation within the time allotted.

 

 In order to avoid mistakes when assigning roles in the decision-making process, we recommend:

  • Designating only one person with the power to make the final decision on the subject discussed. When two or more people are certain of their being the ones who have the last word about a decision, the situation often degenerates into hard bargaining.
  • Avoiding the existence of too many people with the power to agree to the decision. The fact that there are lots of people with the power to exercise a veto usually brings the process to an excessive standstill and dissuades those who make recommendations.
  • Avoiding that too many people with the power to provide input take part in the process. Whenever that happens, there are plentiful contributions that add no value to the question.

A clear example of the damage associated to a decision-making process which is not based on the R.A.P.I.D. model is the case of a car manufacturer when it came to releasing a new model onto the market. In this company, both the marketing department and the department of product development claimed to have the “D”, that is, the decision-making power, about the colours in which the new vehicle was to be marketed. To be precise, when asked about this issue, 64% of the product developers affirmed they had that power, while 83% of the marketers had the same claim. As a result of this duplicity and the subsequent conflict, the car launch was delayed, and the company could not reach the expected sales.

The most successful firms use simple tools to help them clear potential bottlenecks arising before every turn in the business context. Although it is not easy, companies can become more effective in their decision-making by taking some simple, practical steps. If the company directors start finding themselves sitting in meetings and wondering more and more why they are there, that is a sign of progress in the decision-making process.

KEY QUESTIONS

Consider the latest three serious decisions you have recently taken and ask yourself:

  • Were they wise decisions?
  • Did the decision-making take an accurate amount of time or was it excessively delayed?
  • Were the decisions satisfactorily performed?
  • Was it clear in each of them who recommended it, who provided input, who had the final decision-making power and who would monitor the decision taken? Was the role of every person taking part in each of the processes respected?
  • Were there objective data to support the decisions?
  • Did ‘the person with the D’ rise to the occasion?

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ROGERS, P.; BLENKO, M. “Who has the D? How clear decision roles enhance organizational performance”, Harvard Business Review, January 2006.