Bain's RAPID Decision-making Model
61% of leaders complain about ineffective decision-making processes. Bain's RAPID Decision-making Model proposes a process for effective decision-making and delivery. The key roles involved are: Recommend, Agree, Perform, Input, and Decide. Use this presentation to sequence the relationship between stakeholders and ensure that responsibilities are clearly defined and achievable.
The RAPID decision-making matrix designates tasks across key leadership, product teams, and external resources.(Slide 8)
A RAPID team matrix assigns roles so decisions flow freely as teams synchronize without friction. (Slide 10)
A RAPID meeting checklist clarifies the decision that the meeting aims to reach, and how it will be communicated to stakeholders.(Slide 16)
Companies that excel at decision-making grow 5.5 times more profits before taxes and return 4 times more to shareholders than those that don't.
Today's changing world means your business needs to be more focused, decision-driven, and innovative than ever before. Empower your team to make better decisions with Bain's RAPID Framework. And for more resources like this, check out our Bain's Management Toolkit (Part 1) and Bain's Management Toolkit (Part 2).
The RAPID system assigns roles to team members to clarify and speed up the decision-making process. First, determine "What" needs to be decided and assign "Who" will play each role. From there, the how and when will clarify the tasks and corresponding timeline. For example, say you need to make a decision on whether to launch an upcoming marketing initiative. You need to greenlight whether or not you're going forward with the promotion before you can decide who will lead the endeavor, how it will be enacted, and when it will be launched.(Slide 2)
Five key roles
RAPID divides the decision process among five key roles:
The Recommend role makes a recommendation for a decision. This person gathers the relevant facts and provides analysis.
The Agree role determines if a recommendation makes sense, or escalates disagreements on certain recommendations when necessary.
The Perform role executes the decision once the decision has been made, and is accountable for ensuring the decision is brought to fruition.
The Input role provides their feedback with critical expertise, experience, or additional information that helps develop recommendations. Inputs usually need to be consulted before a decision is made.
The Decide role makes the final decision and commits the organization to action. With a single decider, there is a single point of accountability, which speeds up decision-making.(Slide 4)
There are three steps to the RAPID decision-making process: pre-decision, in the action, and upon decision. In the pre-decision phase, select the key decision-maker and pinpoint the topic of decision. You will also gather recommendation inputs during this phase. For instance, if you are trying to decide your next product to launch, select key decision-makers and recommenders who will pitch proposals to the decision-makers.
During the in-action phase, present and discuss the facts, then debate and decide on the best decision. The input and agree roles are important here, and should be relevant to the final decision. For instance, you'll want input from creative, sales, and marketing teams on whether a new product is worth the investment. But it will ultimately be up to other roles, for instance, the executive team to make the final decision.
Once you have agreed on the decision taken, assign execution roles and commit your organization to the action. Hold yourself accountable to ensure there's appropriate follow-through.(Slide 10)
A simple overview of the RAPID process is as follows: The need for a critical decision is identified. The Recommend role determines who the Decision role will be, then the Recommend and Decision roles determine any other stakeholders and assign their roles. Recommend prepares their proposal, gets feedback from the Input role, then discusses their initial proposal with the Agree role. With input and agreement from the corresponding roles, Recommend takes their proposal to Decision. Decision then decides and communicates the action for the Perform role to execute.
So for example, let's say you identify a workflow issue at your office. The graphic design team is backlogged and needs more of a runway to finish deliverables on time.
Determine who needs to make the decision on the solution, in this case, the project manager who assigns and schedules graphic design's timeline. Work with them to decide who will provide input and need to agree with your proposal. In this case, you'll need input from graphic design on what's a more reasonable runway, and agreement from the sales team so they can retool their promises to clients. Once you've identified the roles, workshop your proposal with the key stakeholders until you come up with the right solution, then take that to the decision-maker.
For instance, the decision could be a new three-week turnaround window for each new project should be enough to not get backlogged, and a new hire could provide a more sustainable, long-term solution. Management then decides whether or not to greenlight this proposal, and then commit the organization to the change. (Slide 7)
When assigning roles, it's important to only have one Recommend role. This role will have broad visibility and access to the most relevant information so that they can make the best recommendation possible. This is important both for Recommenders who propose solutions or initiatives, and Deciders who assign Recommenders to ensure a successful decision process. Without a good recommendation, it's impossible to make a good decision. (Slide 11)
In contrast, Agree roles should be assigned sparingly. They are the most useful for situations where a legal or regulatory decision needs to be made, as these decisions will require external sign-off before moving forward. Also, keep in mind that Agree roles can veto the Recommend's ideas, but the Decision-maker is still the sole decider.
If Agree changes their mind after an initial agreement, it becomes too late to change their mind. However, if an Agree role is assigned, they can't be ignored by the Recommend role. If they can't agree on a recommendation, then the Decider breaks the deadlock. (Slide 12)
"Perform" and "input"
While the Perform role is the least consequential to the decision-making process, the one executing an action typically will also have an Input role. In the case of our graphic design example, the creative team should be an Input as they are uniquely qualified to provide guidance on what is and is not a realistic solution.
Those with knowledge, experience, or access to resources that are critical to the decision should also be consulted for Input. However, the number of Input roles should be limited to ensure a timely decision is made.(Slide 13-14)
Once the decision is made, an execution progress bar can create accountability and help keep an organization's commitment to the said decision in check. For more resources like this, check out our Task Tracker deck.