I hear from people who are huge RACI fans, having experienced its potential in a former organization. Now they’re in a new job and trying to persuade their new colleagues to adopt the RACI tool. Usually with good reason. When their new colleagues are not keen to listen to their advice, they’re frustrated. Here are some thoughts for them.
First, I want to recommend a fantastic TED lecture that talks about how to persuade people – it’s Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” and here is the link. It’s well worth the 17 minutes because he’s a fantastic speaker (and it’s a lot faster than reading his book of the same title, which I also recommend).
Sinek’s idea is that most of us – people and organizations – begin by explaining WHAT we do, or WHAT something is. Sometimes we progress to explaining HOW we do something. For our purposes, this means introducing RACI by describing what it is (a tool that helps you clarify roles on a project and in an organization) and what the codes stand for. (Click here for our free white paper if you want to learn the RACI tool basics.) And we might go on to talk about how RACI is used in an organization by providing a few examples. That’s a big improvement, according to Sinek, because it offers someone a story or context, too. Go for examples!
But even more powerful than the "what" and the "how," Sinek teaches, is the WHY. (You caught the title of his book, right?) He tells us that WHY addresses the way people actually make decisions, which is more emotional than rational. Start with why, Sinek counsels, and you’ve got their attention. Once they’re committed, the how and the why become far less important.So WHY RACI?
- Create and Enhance Accountability. RACI is the simplest way to assign and keep track of accountability in an organization – the “who is supposed to do what.” And accountability turns out to be the "secret sauce" that makes teams effective and projects fun.
- Streamline Decision-Making. The reason complex organizations love RACI is because their decision-making structures are often very confusing. Think matrix organizations, or complicated systems with lots of autonomous professionals working in them, like universities or mission-driven organizations. Or think of high growth companies where the decision structure needs to adapt. RACI is the simplest tool to clarify and then streamline decisions. This “speed to decision” is a critical variable for competitiveness and success.
For more on accountability and speed to decision, check out our free “Design Your Organization for Accountability: Five Ways to Get Started” white paper. It may be just what you’re looking for to hang onto your New Year’s resolutions!