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Single Dimension v. Checks and Balances

Businesses always make decisions; whether large or small, a decision always impacts operations. It is usually prompted by the need to solve a problem or take advantage of a potential opportunity. But how do businesses ensure that the decision they make is appropriate for the organization as a whole? A "Checks and balances" approach can be adopted in organizations to ensure that decisions are made from multiple perspectives.


The term "checks and balances" derives from the principle of government, which held that distributing power among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches would establish a balanced system in which no branch can gain absolute authority. In the corporate world, the approach aims to involve more than one member or department of an organization in decision-making and other essential processes. It ensures that no single individual or department is in charge of decision-making and demands teamwork to execute tasks.


While members of an organization typically make decisions based on what they perceive to be the organization's best interest, this perspective is one-dimensional. It also can easily be skewed toward immediate needs or a problem. Adopting checks and balances in the process can assist in reducing potential errors in businesses by allowing coworkers to share ideas, learn from one another, and work toward a common objective. Moreover, the approach can help to create accountability within an organization.


In many firms, recruiting decisions are usually made by the hiring manager and approved by the CEO. In this situation, one party (the hiring manager) is responsible for proposing a deal (to hire a new employee), while another party (the CEO) is accountable for ensuring that the proposed action is consistent with the organization's policies. On the other hand, with the check and balances mechanism in a hiring decision, a company organizes a hiring committee, which will evaluate candidates and select the most qualified candidate via voting. The selection will subsequently be confirmed or rejected by the entire board. In this case, there are two checks and balances; no committee member dominates the process, and the board must approve the committee's recommendation.

Good decision-making is often the result of a healthy team culture where debate is encouraged and communication is always open. Companies can do that by adopting checks and balances and involving more diverse employees in business decisions at all levels.

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