Are your delegated authorities causing headaches?

We asked this question recently through an electronic data mailout to the members of a leading professional association.  The response was an overwhelming “YES!”

In a perfect world, everyone in an organisation would clearly understands what they can and can’t do, and what policies apply to any decision they make.  It seems from the many responses we’ve received that in reality, this is rare.  In most organisations, very few people to know who has authority to make what decision.  Many governance professionals have contacted us recently looking for assistance to make their delegated authorities clear, accessible and easy to manage and communicate.

Many of the people who’ve contacted us are having real problems with their delegated authorities.  Usually, but not always, they have a reasonable matrix of delegations but it is a static document and is neither well understood nor universally followed.  It often takes weeks to update and communicate changes, so the matrix is frequently out of date.  Often, there are several different worksheets for different units of the organisation and these often contain inconsistencies.  Version control is difficult.  The delegated authorities are hard to find and search.  The owners waste a lot of time responding to administrative questions and processing changes that should be easy to make in real time.  Decisions are not linked to the policies and procedures that guide decision-making.

Doubtless there are many organisations that are not experiencing any difficulties with their delegations of authority.  However it seems that a great many are.