Being the decision-maker can be a lonely and high-pressure task, especially when you’re making determinations that will impact a group of people. This is where team decision-making helps a lot. Not only are you able to make more sound and better-informed decisions, but everyone who will potentially be impacted will feel good about it.
The team decision-making process can be tedious, though. Depending on the size of your team, there are a lot of things that you need to do before you sit down to make decisions together. However, deciding matters as a team, in addition to maximizing your team potential, plays a crucial role in the evolution of your team dynamic and the enhancement of relationships within the group.
Very few things can be considered more intimidating than having to make a decision on anything, more so if it will affect other people. However, the task becomes more bearable, exciting, and less terrifying when done with a group of people that share your values. This is one of the times when having a team pays off – knowing that you have a whole team behind you, making the tough choices with you, and sharing the responsibility.
As leaders, getting the team decision-making process started may be challenging at first, to a greater degree, if you have members who are not used to voicing their opinions. It takes a lot of encouragement and some clever strategizing, but we’re here to help with 8 of the most game-changing team decision-making strategies you can try today!
The most traditional, hence, most popular of the team decision-making strategies in this article, Brainstorming also happens to be the fastest and easiest way to get ideas flowing within the group. Because brainstorming sessions are meant to encourage the spontaneous contribution of ideas, anyone in the team can chime in, raise a point and offer a solution or another option. No ideas are turned down on the spot either, so everyone is galvanized to offer their viewpoint or offer their perceived resolution.
Brainstorming sessions are run chiefly to gather as many ideas, suggestions, and recommendations as possible and then decide later on which one may be the best to go with. A voting process can be done to come up with the recognized best approach. From there, the team can draw up plans for a course of action.
One of the more effective team decision-making and strategic thinking techniques is the Pros and Cons list or usually referred to as Dialectical Inquiry. For this strategy, you will need to divide your team into two groups – one for the benefits of going one way and the drawbacks of going the same route. Each group can then have the chance to present their side and highlight why they believe the cause or course of action that they’re advocating for is the best one for the team.
To better illustrate each group’s logic, you can use tools such as Gantt charts. They’re usually used to visualize projects in the form of timelines and tasks, as well as task dependencies. For the basis of team decision-making, though, Gantt charts can be used to create a kind of chart that shows the possible outcomes if your team should take one path as opposed to another.
If you’re in a time crunch and need to arrive at a decision quickly, the Possibility Ranking is a strategy worth trying. This entails the simple act of determining the best option through a voting system or creating a list of ideas and approaches you should explore as a team. The Possibility Ranking technique also works well if you want to better engage your employees without making your most introverted team members uncomfortable.
Possibility Ranking can be used in your face-to-face team meeting, but it can also be made into polls or employee surveys for everyone to fill out. You can give them a list of options to choose from leading up to the final outcome. You can combine all of the options until you arrive at a consensus which you can then disseminate to the team as the choice of the majority.
Hindsight is 20/20, yes, but if you want to lessen or completely eliminate the mistakes you’ll eventually end up regretting, Decision Trees is a team decision-making strategy you can practice.
Decision Trees are extremely visual, giving you and your team a picture of the outcomes you can expect based on the choices you’ll make. Having a form of mind map can help you and your team predict how certain methodologies can pan out. If you’re familiar with young adult books that allow you to choose your own storyline or outcome, Decision Trees are pretty much the same.
The Decision Tree begins with one question, problem, or goal/target, otherwise known as the root of the tree. From there, your choices or optional approaches branch out. There can be as many as you and your team can perceive. Each branch then yields the fruit or the projected outcome. The best tool that you can use for this is a flowchart to sufficiently illustrate how the tree starts out and ends with the final decision, methodology, or result.
If you’re looking to make cogent decisions that involve the fiscal aspects of the business, you can keep things simple by using the time-tested team decision-making process called Cost/Benefit Analysis. This is also applicable if you’re working on a client-assigned project with a set budget. You can use project cost management software once you’re done making group decisions to ensure that you don’t go over the dedicated budget.
To do a Cost/Benefit Analysis, you start by grouping your ideas together. You can then measure each idea by the projected cost associated with them before moving on to anticipated benefits. Once done, you can rank your ideas under both columns of Cost and Benefit to help you see which scheme is best for you and your team to follow.
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Consensus Mapping can begin with a simple brainstorming session where your team generates ideas for a tactic or something that needs to be decided on. The intent is to arrive at a decision by grouping ideas together from several tasks and sub-tasks. These grouped ideas are whittled down until only a small number of them are left, bringing the desired outcome into sharper focus or until the team is presented with a solution or plan of action that’s acceptable to all.
For Consensus Mapping, you can use Kanban boards that everyone in the team can view and manipulate by adding their input and knowledge. This strategy is not only advantageous for consensus building or strategic thinking. It can also be useful when you’re trying to make decisions for more than one project, issue, or situation.
This activity is best used when you’re trying to decide on how to make the work environment better, getting a feel for the changes that need to be made in the team or bullpen, or updating processes and protocols within the team to streamline your workflow. For Start, Stop, Continue strategy, all the participants need to do is answer three questions:
What do we need to start doing?
What do we need to stop doing?
What do we need to continue doing?
Start, Stop, Continue makes your team feel valued and appreciated because you’re coming to them and asking them for their honest feedback. Having this 360° standpoint on leadership and management will change your team dynamics by making your team members feel more confident in voicing their opinions and sharing their views on how things in the workplace can be better improved.
Again, this doesn’t have to be done face-to-face. You can conduct surveys or ask these questions via email. If you want, you can also ask these during one-on-one coaching sessions with each team member. The important thing is to get common consent so you can move forward with making changes and improvements.
The last team decision-making strategy on our list is 3 Action Steps which encourages participants to use their imagination in visualizing what will happen in the future once the judgment that the team made is implemented. Looking retrospectively and working backward, the team is then split into two, sharing the overall vision against the possible issues, challenges, and problems that might keep the team from realizing the said vision. Afterward, they will need to define 3 actions to take in order to make the outcome better, closer to what they envisioned or hoped for.
3 Action Steps is often conducted after a brainstorming session and aims to lessen the weight of regret from poorly-made decisions or execution of plans by giving teams the opportunity to make adjustments. These adjustments can then be added to the main plan for carrying out the final decision made by the whole team.
Sometimes we walk away from meetings asking ourselves if we did or said the right thing. The problem is, there’s really no way of knowing until you’re in the middle of things, executing the plan you created with your team. That can be alleviated by trying some, if not all, of the following:
Deliberate carefully and thoroughly as a team
Welcome a bit of back and forth (Good decisions rarely come easy or are rarely made quickly)
Encourage and don’t barrage
Support each other even when you have different takes on things
Meetings can get high strung, and emotions can run high, especially when you have a lot riding on the decision you’re about to make. Take the time to stop and recognize this fact before pushing your team. Better yet, apply these techniques at your next team decision-making meeting:
Give your team a safe space – If you want them to trust you enough to speak up and contribute to the meeting, they need to feel safe that they won’t be mocked, laughed at, or teased when they do speak up
Keep the door open for anonymity – Like it or not, there will be people who will never feel brave enough to speak in a team setting. Give your team the option to voice their opinion anonymously if it will embolden them to express themselves
Gather everyone’s opinion – Never discriminate or look down on someone’s take on an issue or topic. Their point of view might give you a different perspective on things
Run workshops and team building activities – Your team will gel, work better and make well-thought-out decisions together if they’re connected with each other. Give them shared experiences that they will appreciate through workshops and other team-building activities
Allow each team member a chance to speak – Whether they want to or not, acknowledge each person and let them know that they may have the floor if they wish to be heard
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Team decision-making is the process by which a group of individuals collaboratively assess and choose among various options to reach a consensus on a specific course of action. It involves leveraging collective expertise, perspectives, and insights to arrive at the most informed and agreed-upon decision.
Encourage team members to participate in decision-making by:
The effective decision-making strategies are:
Better decision-making can enhance team potential by encouraging members to step out of their comfort zones and be more sensible and considerate of others. Making decisions as a team helps bond the group and teaches them how to make the best choices in the future through strategic thinking.