August 8, 2011

Team Decision Making

Recently members of the House and Senate appeared to be locked in a stalemate; unable to agree on the conditions surrounding when and how to raise the USA debt ceiling. The Republicans and Democrats each were looking at the situation from completely different perspectives and therefore saw opposing solutions to the issue. Although an agreement was finally reached before the deadline, the situation created anxiety and frustration for the members involved and the citizens of the USA.

Does that sound like something that has happened to you in the workplace? How would you rate decision making in your organization? Do you have different departments or functions that look at situations completely opposite thereby causing anxiety and an inability for your organization to make a critical decision and move forward?
I thought we could take a look at several ineffective and effective ways to make decisions in a group environment:
Railroading = Occurs when one or more team members force their will on the group. This will typically happen when one type of group represents a majority. The minority group’s voice is “drowned out” by the majority’s needs and interests.
Alliances = Occurs when a few team members form a coalition. Quite often there are tradeoffs and deals made where support is obtained for something one group wants in return for supporting a future option. This may work well for members of the alliance, but not always for everyone else or the organization.
Majority Vote = Represents the wishes of at least 51% of the group. This sounds fair however when 49% of the people do not get what they want, frustration can remain. You see this in politics when years after an election people are still complaining about how their candidate was not elected and how awful the incumbent is performing.
Consensus = Agreement among all members of the team based on what is best for the organization. This is the highest level of decision making. It is what we all want from our political and organizational leaders.

Tips for participating in consensus decision making include:
  • Avoid arguing based on just feelings; use logic and facts.
  • View differences of opinion as helpful.
  • Put your opinions aside and truly listen to the benefits another solution could offer.
  • Avoid changing your opinion just to "go along" with the group.
  • Look at the long-term view of the issue, not just the short-term benefits of all opinions.
  • After the decision is made, each member must visibly support the decision.

1 comment:

chandra said...

truly interesting stuff! this is my first visit and defiantly getting bookmarked!