RAPID Framework In A Nutshell

The RAPID framework is a tool used to help businesses make important decisions. The RAPID framework was developed by global consultancy firm Bain & Company, which noted that “high-quality decision making and strong performance go hand in hand.

Understanding the RAPID framework

Nevertheless, clear and well-defined decision-making processes in many organizations are impeded by uncertainty over roles or responsibilities. This causes wasted time, confusion, frustration, and ultimately, failure.

To address this issue, Bain & Company developed a tool to help clarify decision-making accountability. It is loosely based on the acronym RAPID which is based on five key roles that must be assumed when making any decision:

  1. Recommend (R) the decision or action. Who is the person or group of people responsible for recommending an action as part of an expected outcome?
  2. Agree (A) to the decision or action. Who is the person or group of people tasked with agreeing to a decision? This might include customers, suppliers, stakeholders, department heads, or key executives. If a decision is not fully supported, this should be reflected in the final proposal.
  3. Perform (P) the action item. This role encompasses those tasked with carrying out the action. This role must be staffed with relevant knowledge and expertise.
  4. Input (I) – who will provide factual input to a recommendation to generate support from employees? Depending on the ease of implementation and chance of success, this input may or may not be reflected in the final proposal.
  5. Decide (D) to make the decision. Importantly, the decision must be made by a single person – referred to as the decision owner. If a business feels the need to involve multiple people in a decision, then it may benefit from splitting a project into smaller parts.

RAPID framework best practices

If nothing else, the RAPID framework requires patience, discipline, and practice. It also requires discerning judgment since not every decision will be suited to a rigorous evaluation process.

With that said, here are a few tips for using the framework:

  • If key personnel identify that the RAPID framework is applicable, each of the five key roles must be filled before a decision is required. These people must then be notified of their responsibilities as a matter of priority.
  • Ensure recommendations, inputs, and agreements are clearly defined. To help avoid confusion, clarify the level of input each role is providing and also the context it is provided in.
  • While the RAPID framework is useful for larger organizations or projects with added complexity, businesses must avoid using it for every single decision. Overuse can cause efficiency problems the framework was trying to solve in the first place.

Benefits of the RAPID framework 

Some of the benefits of the RAPID framework include:

  • Thoughtful decision-making – many decision-makers benefit from a systematic and logical decision-making process. It forces them to slow down and give greater accountability to those most deserving of it. With the most qualified people involved, the less qualified are excluded as a natural consequence.
  • Increased buy-in – many assume excluded staff are somehow less invested in the decision as a result. However, the reverse is true when there is some degree of transparency. As staff understand who is involved in making the decision and what the process entails, they become more engaged and supportive. 
  • High-quality recruiting – the increase in clarity also has ramifications for the recruitment process. The RAPID framework allows recruiters to clearly define the authority and responsibility an interviewee would have in the company if successful. This allays concerns regarding decision-making scope and the pre-existing chain of command.
  • Higher impact decisions. Perhaps an obvious benefit, but one that is worth mentioning. Businesses that make better decisions generally make higher impact decisions that help them achieve their goals more effectively.

Key takeaways:

  • The RAPID framework is a tool used by businesses to help them make better decisions. It was developed by consultancy firm Bain & Company.
  • The RAPID framework is based on an acronym of five key decision-making roles. Each role may be assigned to an individual or group of people.
  • The systemic nature of the RAPID framework forces decision-making to slow down and become more insightful. It also increases employee buy-in for those not directly involved in the process. Lastly, the framework encourages high-impact decision-making enabling goals to be achieved more quickly.

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