Years ago, I experienced first-hand the value of 1-2-3 decision-making. The general manager of one of our companies had done analysis that showed that expenses for repair and maintenance of our trucks had been rising steadily to the point that it made more sense to buy new trucks than to keep throwing money into older ones.
We were just starting to apply the 1-2-3 approach to decision-making and he asked: “How about we pull the drivers and crew members together to discuss buying new trucks?” I said: “Sure, why not?”
So we met with the drivers and crew members, told them what we were thinking and asked them to do the research and to spec out new equipment, which they readily agreed to do.
During their research they were shocked as to how expensive new trucks were. And to my surprise, in an attempt to save money, they recommended that we leave out radios (that was before iPods or iPhones) and some other features.
Since the drivers and crew members made those recommendations, their attitudes were: “Wouldn’t anyone make that same decision”?
Now, you know what would have happened if I, or our general manager had decided to leave out the radios to save money.
We would most likely still be hearing about their displeasure with a decision that impacted them without discussing it with them!
The 1-2-3 Approach
1-2-3 is a process that promotes teamwork and helps you lead your organization to consistently better results. It works like this:
(a) Ask three questions before making a decision:
1. Who can help me make a better decision?
2. Who will have to carry it out?
3. Who will be impacted by it? And,
(b) Involve those people in making the decision as appropriate.
The 1-2-3 process enables anyone to build a highly-motivated peak-performance team that enjoys the following three benefits.
Team members are educated
Each team member that is involved becomes educated about the results the process is designed to achieve.
Upfront involvement in turn results in less time spent “selling” and training” when it comes time to take action or implement a decision.
Team members are vested
Involving people in the process gives them a sense of ownership of the process.
People support what they help create.
Asking people for input makes them feel valuable and inspire them to bring excellence to their work.
And this vesting in the process and the team increases people’s willingness to embrace the result, even when your decision may not be their first choice.
Better decisions, better results
“None of us is as smart as all of us.”
―Kenneth H. Blanchard
No matter how much a person knows, adding an additional person will expand a team’s knowledge base.
A 1-2-3 approach is reflective of a “People-First” culture, and a “People-First” culture places a premium on teamwork.
Highly knowledgeable specialists (e.g. from the front-line) can provide invaluable information during decision-making process.
When people’s thoughts and ideas are solicited, they are more likely to see themselves as full-fledged members of the team.
As you can see, the 1-2-3 process requires an intentional leader who humbly looks to others for input, but the additional time up-front results in the best outcome for everyone!
Do you think your team could benefit from a dose of 1-2-3?