The Decision-Making Process of Teams
How do we make decisions as a team?
The Most Important Thing That Teams Do is Make Decisions
Flow of Information & Collaboration in Teams (see Mechanistic vs. Organic Decision-Making)
- How does your team function? More mechanistically or organically?
- What are the pros and cons of each decision-making style?
The Leader’s Role in Guiding the Process
- Communication – the leader needs to communicate the decision that needs to be made and how the decision will be made. A good format for communicating how a decision will be made is the RACI Model:
- Responsibility – who has the responsibility for the project or process
- Authority – who has the authority to ultimately make the decision
- Consult – who needs to be consulted in the decision-making process
- Inform – who needs to be informed of the decision that’s been made
- Collaboration – leaders need to include other leaders in the decision-making process. When other leaders on your team are heard and feel a part of the process, regardless of whether they have the authority to make the decision or not, buy-in and communication is significantly easier. As discussed above, in the collaboration process, make sure that you clarify how the decision will be made and the leader’s or team’s part in the process.
- Clarification on the method of “decision-making”
- Consensus – all team members get a chance to air their opinions and must ultimately agree on the outcomes. If any team member does not agree, discussions continue until ever team member can agree with the outcome. Consensus often results in less the stellar decisions as well as a lower degree of buy-in and follow-through.
- Compromise – at times a leader will need to compromise on part of the proposed decision to create buy-in and synergy around the most important aspects of the proposed decision.
- Consult & Decide – the leader communicates up front that he or she is consulting the team or individual leader, but the ultimate responsibility and/or authority still resides them the team leader.
- Conflict – Don’t be afraid of conflict in the decision-making process. If team members aren’t free to express their thoughts and feelings and are afraid of conflict, your team won’t have a thorough discussion and people won’t feel heard. For more on conflict, see Five Dysfunctions of a Team.
- What is the structure of your team, and is decision-making more mechanistic or organic?
- What is a recent decision that your team had to make, and how was that decision made (think process)? What were some good, healthy aspects of the process, and where can you as the leader and your team grow?