When questioning if a good or bad decision was made we need to look beyond the outcomes. It is normal to consider only the outcomes but what makes a decision a good one is more than that. A good decision is not outcome based only, you need a good decision process. If your teams were literally rolling dice to decide between options how would you feel? Even a string of past success is not enough to say, “Keep it up”. It is intuitive; we know that is not a sound process. To get important options in a decision considered, evaluated, and committed to takes purposeful agreed to steps.
So what if your teams were making decisions based on who talked the loudest or the most? Not much better. What if the decision was driven by who got paid the most, had the most seniority, and was the “ranking” person in the room? We’re no longer in the randomness of rolling dice. But these unstated decision-making processes are not getting the most from your teams. If you truly want a team decision you need a process that outlines how the team works together.
We avoid teams defaulting into decision process ruts of loudest or highest in the org chart by defining an alternative. Consider the following four decision-making roles.
- Facilitate Making the decision process move forward. Insuring others participate and carry out their contribution to the decision. Insure the team understands the decision and the options being considered.
- Consult Similarily evaluating alternatives and narrowing down to a choice but when you consult your input may or may not be followed. If you consult into a decision your recommendation may not be followed and that is OK. If your input was heard, understood, and considered then the consult was completed.
- Decide Actually making a decision through evaluating alternatives and narrowing done to a choice. When multiple team members have a ‘decide’ role then they need to agree on the choice. This is the much-maligned consensus. Sometimes consensus is essential.
- Inform Being informed after a decision was made. That is often key in that decisions impact others. At times those impacted need to know but don’t need to participate for a decision to be effective.
Team decision effectiveness rises meaningfully when all those who are involved understand their part. The alternatives are people guessing or trying to discover their fit over time. As leaders, we equip our teams for decision success by outlining how the group works together. Use the four decision-making roles, Facilitate, Consult, Decide, and Inform as a guide. Good team decisions are not just about good outcomes; you need a solid, well-understood process for each person. Each needs to know how to carry out their part. Equip your teams with this clarity, they will appreciate it and the chance of better outcomes will increase. It beats rolling dice.