Co: When “we” start to mix everything up!

Unconsciously, we’ve made collective decision-making synonymous with collective engagement. However, this shortcut is a dangerous fiction, one that confuses everyone with no one. Firstly because, in the name of the group, “we” has become much stronger than you.

Who is “we” in “we decide”? Everyone, therefore, no one. “We” is the manager when the decision is the right one; if this is not the case, then the others are suddenly in charge. In fact, the use of “we” makes it possible to avoid responsibility, under the guise of participative management or engagement of one’s team… Did you ask your team if they wanted to participate in a decision?

All too often, the burden of deciding is imposed but is also accepted because your team’s calculations are the opposite of yours: the “we” is us if the decision turns out to be correct and it’s you if it doesn’t, because you’re the only one who will be held responsible for it. If there is no collaboration beforehand, the arrived-at decision might only make sense to you, according to your understanding and your expertise. Imagine imposing a decision that might be ambitious but could also be deemed unrealistic: what do you gain by imposing it? Distrust. Only a decision that has been developed together with the group can bring a sense of sharing, meaning and trust, and therefore, of engagement.

Unfortunately, decision-makers often hide behind the convenient “we,” but an organization in which the real decision-maker(s) isn’t easily identifiable is a dysfunctional one. Organizational uncertainty is a strategy used by decision-makers to protect themselves in case of future problems, but no organization can sustainably grow when irresponsibility is a kind of cult, masked under the slogan, “We decide”. The creation of managerial value does not lie in co-decision-making but rather, in the collaboration that precedes any decision. The real value comes when the manager decides alone, but the decision is informed by the collective intelligence.

Learn more: “Décision collective = engagement collectif ? » d’Olivier Zara (blog.axiopole.info, September 2018)