Making people more accountable with Zapproved Thursday, August 14, 2008
Everyone in large companies can name them - the people who actively seek to avoid making a decision, in case they are held accountable. Or more specifically those who are happy to accept the glory if it goes well, but who've done enough to distance themselves from being party to a decision that didn't turn out well.
Whilst decisions may have been made in meetings they attended, somehow they insist that theirs was the "questioning/doubting" voice that was overruled. Sound familiar?
At the same time, there are plenty of occasions when decisions seem to just simply drag on and it's unclear as to who's holding up the process or even what decision is being requested.
So, I quite like an incredibly simple service from Zapproved, which is effectively a voting service, that records and tracks the decisions made. Is it perfect - no? Could it be easily replicated internally - are you joking, do you know how long it would take to get approval for an internal project that set out to do this, let alone develop it!
I know people who've tried to use voting buttons inside Outlook emails, but they lack the audit trail offered by Zapproved.
The "proposer" sends an email via the service which details the decision required, a due date, the project to which it relates and an importance level. A supporting attachment can be included if required.
Decision makers receive an email detailing the proposal and embedded buttons to "Approve", "Deny", "Comment". This takes them through to a web page, where comments may be added. The results are automatically collated centrally and hence tracking awaited decision is very easy.
There are a few things that I think would enhance the existing service:
- Decision-makers can presently see the decisions given by others on a proposal. I think that the Proposer should be able to determine if decisions should be confidential until everyone has voted. Sometimes, people can be too easily influenced by the decisions of others.
- The dashboard could be made clearer by highlighting details of who has yet to vote and also sending auto-reminders to people as the decision date approaches.
- It doesn't appear to accommodate majority voting on decisions, only unanimous verdicts, which I think it should since this is the reality in many situations