CRISP Decision Making Process

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This easy five-step process developed by Berrett-Koehler Publishers is used to make crisp decisions when you have a question requiring involvement of others, when you are proposing a change, leading a project or when you want to make something new happen.


C = Clarity 

Step 1  – Clearly describe the decision required.

Anyone affected by the decision should have an opportunity to have input into the wording of the decision.

If there is uncertainty or disagreement about how to describe the decision, the leader of the area affected by the decision will describe it.


R = Responsibility  

Step 2  – Determine who will be responsible to “steward” the decision through the CRISP decision-making process.

Usually this should be the person leading the project or has proposed the decision.

If there is uncertainty about who it should be, the leader of the area affected by the decision will appoint the steward.


I = Involvement

Step 3  – Determine who should be involved in the decision.

The steward should take the lead in deciding who to involve in the decision, based on the guidelines of involving those who:

  • Are substantially affected by the decision.

  • Have a desire to be involved.

  • Represent the “whole system” relating to the particular issue.

The steward may need to ask individuals or groups if they want to be involved. 


S = Specify the level

Step 4 – Specify their level of involvement in the decision.

For each person or group involved in the decision, the steward will propose their level of involvement.

The leader of the area affected by the decision will make the final determination about the levels of involvement.

The steward ensures that everyone knows their level of involvement.


The 4 levels of involvement are:

Inform – You are informed in a timely way regarding what is going on but not asked to give input into the decision.

Consult – You are consulted before the decision is made to get your input, so that you feel that you’ve been heard even if the decision goes against your advice.

Consent – You see reasonableness and thoughtfulness in the decision to “live with it,” even though might decide differently if making the decision alone.

Consensus – Consensus has been reached when every person involved at this level can say: “I believe that this is the best decision we can arrive at for the organization at this time and I will support its implementation.”


P = Publicize

Step 5 – Publicize the decision.

  • The decision steward facilitates the decision-making process.

  • Once a decision has been made, the steward will communicate the decision to all who have been involved.

Note: You may wish to review the RACI tool for further ideas!