**Original Question “How do we establish aDemocratic Decision making process in ourorganization?”*The Correct Question - “We should be asking.How do we establish a collaborative decisionmaking process which is fact based? Democracyis probably the best thing for yourOrganization. Should I explain why not?”
**Disclaimer: I’m not against Democracy. I live in andlove one of the largest democracies in the world*You all know what Democracy is..*But two things stand out (The only two things thatmatter to us in an Organization implementingDemocracy or something like that)*Every Idiot has a Vote!!!*The Voters Paradox – The Cost Of Voting is wayhigher than the benefit we could ever derive fromthe results of our Voting
** It seems to me that everything in this world is a PopularityContest* People start Yay! Or Nay! And take decisions* They talk about representation, majority, inclusivity etc. etc.which I don’t want to repeat as to what they mean* Is that what we should be doing? Especially in ourorganizations?* Obviously we all would agree we probably need a bottom updecision making process, and we also need a collaborativedecision making process…* But does it have to be democratic? Is the question.* I’m going to say a Big No! and that’s what the rest of thepresentation is all about
** [I know everyone has a Feel Good feeling about Democracy and howits better than those Other forms of Governance. And hence we tryto use the same concepts in our Organizations.]1. Well! Democracy starts with a Popularity Contest whereRepresentatives are Elected…2. Next! the Representatives then use a Fact based or some sort ofRationale based process to take Decisions***Its even worse if a Democratic process is directly used to takedecisions. I will come to that in a bit* This basically means that Democracy is a amalgamation of TwoParadigms* In the First Part, people express their Opinions (which could berational or not, mostly not)* In the Second part the Representatives Hopefully take RationalDecisions in the best interest of everyone (???)
** The most popular guy is nominated for the Elections. Whatever youwant to call him. Crowd Puller, Vote Attractor etc.* Once elected the Experts and Specialists behind the scenes worktogether to formulate decisions which He presents to the wholeworld.* If we understand this then its obvious why some Elected Leaders arenot considered very capable (Hey popularity got them there)* Have you ever seen an MIT Professor try and contest the Elections?And Succeed? Many have tried in India, it won’t work though it hashigher chances of succeeding in the US* The person who tries to run the country by popularity instead ofrationale never helps the Country to succeed. He himself might andin the reverse case The Country might actually benefit but he himselfmight be kicked out of Government* Such are the problems with a Democratic Governance Process inOrganizations.
** …in your Organization. Ask yourself this…* Do you understand the Two Paradigms? Their interplay. The impossibility of managing crossing over and mixing the Two Paradigms* If we define the first Paradigm as a Popularity Contest through Voting using Opinions about Decisions, Policies, Processes, etc.* And you r’ber Every Idiot Has a Vote. Would you want to run your Organization by a Popularity Contest?* Do you really want to promise…* That everyone will be happy by the decisions?* Everyone’s Opinions will be represented?* Trust me no one will be happy that way…* The popularity contest Paradigm has to stop. Your organization has to be run on Critical Thinking* Opinions always deadlock, your organization will end up with the nonsense of endless debates and no decisions or actions orexecution.* Democratic Governance of Organizations could get very bad…* What you need is Fact & Rationale based Decision Making. You want Collaborative and Bottom Up decision making. You don’t wanta popularity contest.* Collaborative Decision Making is not mutually exclusive from a Rationale/Fact based decision making process. Actually that’s thebest combination to have when it starts working.* The best way to go about doing that is TO SET THE BASELINE EXPECTATION of How Decisions Will Be Taken.* Except ofcourse when the need is to decide about the Mess Food, Parking, Team Outings etc. etc.* Now you will ask, isn’t this in conflict with the processes of Gamification and Innovation Crowdsourcing? If Voting is the soleprocess then it’s a problem. But usually the primary criteria for Knowledge Ecosystems is quality and quantity of knowledgesharing, for Gamification is well bounded criteria and games, and for Innovation is the value or impact of the innovation in thecontext of the Boundaries of the Problem. Nothing’s perfect but a pure popularity contest doesn’t cut it. If your ecosystemdeteriorates to that level then that’s the lowest level you could ever fall to.