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The Pre-Approval process is an approach in which employees are allowed to make decisions in predefined situations without asking for approval first. The management receives information about the action later on.

A pre-approval could be given:

· when employees are more than 80% sure about their decision

· up to an amount of X €

· …

This process can be a safe step in distributing decision making to lower levels.


There are two significant factors needed to make the pre-approval process work:

1. Trust

We should all know that failures can and will happen. However, it is essential that the leadership trusts their employees and that mistakes will not be punished, but rather the employees will be encouraged to learn from them. Otherwise, employees will not have the courage to decide and try on their own again.

2. Dare to try

That is the hardest step for many managers — dare to try. If doubts and uncertainties are too high, have a trial period for a few weeks in which the pre-approval process gets tested.

Why should companies implement such an approach?

First and most important, all processes will speed up. Decision-making will take less time because approval processes will become less complex. Therefore, the customers and stakeholders will be more satisfied. Furthermore, the motivation levels will rise because of the additional responsibility. The pressure on the management will be reduced, and they will be finally enabled to focus on more important topics.

It is, of course, not always possible to distribute every decision making towards lower levels. Management and employees likewise have to get used to such changes. With more decision-making power comes more responsibility, for which not every employee feels ready. Additionally, not every manager feels immediately comfortable letting go of control.

Keep in mind that it is essential that employees and management clarify expectations and set guidelines together. If there is ambiguousness, it will lead to frustration and demotivation.


To summarize, this pre-approval process is an excellent first step to start. Employees can choose whether they ask for approval first or not, and the management still receives all the information. In the beginning, a pre-approval can be granted for a few topics only and then be extended as confidence increases.

The most challenging step is acting on it and trying it out. You will be surprised by the results!


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