Transparency and Decision-Making

On a long conference call today 19 of us were discussing group process in decision-making. Specifically, how to assign consultants to incoming work requests. The issue is fraught with flaws that undermine community. For instance, central decisions might be made too quickly, based on who knows whom, using old bios, overlooking a more qualified newcomer to the group. If you want to build a community of practice, a closed process will result in a metaphorical blue screen of death.
My contribution, which seemed to generate murmurs of agreement – hard to tell on a large multi-contient teleconference, with lots of people muted – was that if the process were transparent, then decision-making could be self-correcting. That is, focus on the transparency aspects, then when a decision has to be made quickly, or by a small team instead of the whole group, there is trust and openness and the occasional error can be addressed and used as a learning opportunity to tweak the process.
So, focus your initial effort on transparency, and implement the simplest decision-making process possible. It’s easy to evolve an open decision process, but hard to make a closed process open.
Compare to the US President when he says, “I’m making good decisions!” but they are made in secrecy, and no records are released. Trust, but verify. That’s what a transparent process provides.