A friend and colleague of mine gave me an acronym that is used in his church whenever a decision is made. They assign RACI to actions and I like this so much I want to share it as a tool to help church staffs. RACI stands for:

  • Responsible
    • This person is in charge of the activity. All subsequent decisions go through this person to ensure that everything is working together to meet the desired outcome. This person can delegate intermediate steps but in the end, the buck stops with this person regarding the entire project. The responsible person must also have the trust and authorization to carry out the duties assigned to him or her. Anything less will set that person up for failure and perhaps even his or her departure from the church.
  • Accountable
    • This person is accountable for his or her actions (or inactions) and that accountability will affect his or her annual evaluation. An accountable person may or may be in charge of one aspect of the project or may be the responsible person, also. The accountable person must have the resources to carry out the task assigned to him or her whether those resources are financial, time, knowledge, or people. Accountable people need to know to whom they are accountable – that must be deicded initially; it is frequently the person who is responsible for everything.
  • Consulted
    • This is a person or group of people who have information which can help move the project further along the road. This may be specialized persons (lawyer, architect, teacher, pastor) but they are not part of the decision-making process. Their value is in providing additional knowledge which will help others who are decision-makers. Information is always a two-way street in the section: those who are consulted, by definition, should provide feedback to ensure the proper information is getting to the responsible or accountable person(s).
  • Informed
    • These are people who should be told what is happening along the way. This may be a person (such as the pastor or other leader) or a group of people (such as the congregation or key committee). They are not necessarily part of the decision-making process but keeping them informed can help the decisions go faster and easier. Information is usually one-way but sometimes it can flow back if it will help.

Sometimes these four are mixed and matched. For instance, someone who is consulted may also be a accountable. Sometimes you don’t have all four – one of the above may be omitted if it is not appropriate or unnecessary.

Use this terminology to ensure that everyone understands and knows their role in the decision-making process. Keeping this clear will help people know what they are supposed to do and what they should not do. It can minimize conflicts (“eliminate” is probably too much wishful thinking). Use this tool to help you become a more efficient and effective staff – and one that communicates better with each other.

Lead On!