Canada's business magazine for traditional natural health retailers

3 minutes reading time (545 words)

The Decision Matrix

When an organization is going through rapid change, roles within the organization change, too, and not always  in a consciously thought-through manner. Expansions can result in forming new layers of positions.

When an organization is going through rapid change, roles within the organization change, too, and not always  in a consciously thought-through manner. Expansions can result in forming new layers of positions.

Even without significant growth, staff turnover can surface the need to formalize unspoken rules and informal relationships.

To effectively function, a business needs clarity about who has the authority to do what. And it’s not just a matter of identifying one role as the decision-maker. In the typical natural retailer, whether cooperatively or indepdendently owned, there are multiple players in many decisions. Someone may make the ultimate decision, but only as a result of consultation with and input from others.

A decision matrix is a helpful tool for clarifying the different roles within the organization in getting a decision made. The size and complexity of the organization will govern how many different roles there are.

The sidebar shows an example from a small, independent retailer with a hands-on owner. In this case the owner directly hires the department managers and convenes them in biweekly management team meetings. Some non-management employees are replacement orderers for categories within their departments.

Your organization may function in an entirely different way from the one in the sidebar. But the decision matrix will be just as useful.

The process of defining the roles in a decision is where the value of the tool lies. By thinking through the types of decisions that arise and the people who need to be involved, everyone comes to see their own work and the work of others with greater understanding. Ineffective or missing procedures for collecting input and keeping people informed can be improved or developed. Those who have been habitually left out can be included, while those who don’t need to be involved won’t have their time wasted.

 

Example of a Decision Matrix

 

Owner

Management Team

Department Managers

Replacement Orderers

Department Staff

Pricing Strategy

Decide

Discuss

Informed

Informed

Informed

Margin Goals

Decide

Discuss

Give input

Informed

Informed

Product Standards

Decide

Discuss

Give input

Informed

Informed

Product Mix

Final review

N/A

Decide

Give input

Give input

Store Layout

Final review

Decide

Give input

Informed

Give input

Product Merchandising

Set guidelines

Discuss

Decide

Give input

Give input

Advertising

Decide

Give input

Informed

Informed

Informed

Promotions

Final review

Decide

Give input

Informed

Informed

Quantities ordered

N/A

N/A

N/A

Decide

Give input

Demos

N/A

N/A

Decide

Informed

Informed

Donations Policy

Final review

Decide

Informed

Informed

Informed

Product Donations

Informed

N/A

Decide

Informed

Informed

Customer Policies

Decide

Discuss

Give input

Give input

Give input

Hiring—Department Staff

Final review

N/A

Decide

Informed

Informed

Hiring—Department Managers

Decide

N/A

Give input for peer hires

Informed

Informed

Pay Scale

Decide

Discuss

Give input

N/A

Give input

Pay Increases

Final review

Discuss

Decide

N/A

Informed

Benefits

Decide

Discuss

Give input

N/A

Give input

Disciplinary Action-

Informed

N/A

Decide

N/A

N/A

Firing

Final review

Informed

Decide

N/A

Informed

Personnel Policies

Final review

Decide

Give input

N/A

Give input

Operating Budget

Decide

Give input

Give input

N/A

Informed

Unbudgeted Expenditures

over $___

Decide

Give input

Give input as needed

N/A

Informed

 

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