Time is gone when a person used to think himself independent. In the beginning, in our life we had got very limited requirements. But as the civilization progressed, our dependence on the others to meet our various needs grew and today, we can live in isolation. We have to help each other, do something to meet other’s requirements and expect others to do what we require.
With the passage of time, the concept of labour division and individual entrepreneurship developed and people gathered to carry out the production on mass level. They categorized themselves in the category of employees, self-employed consultants, businessmen and investors. In each category too, the people form teams and each member of the team is assigned a specific responsibility to carry out. There takes place a chain of process and one step brings changes in the properties of the production carried out by the previous step. It goes on to get a common goal. For that, you need to have a team.
When you envisage some goal or project, you identify the critical activities to accomplish and for such activities, you need to organize a team of the persons having expertise for such activities. As you start to work to conceptualize a goal or project, you imagine a structure of team in which you would like to involve the persons. You may meet them individually or collectively or in the teams of two-three or more persons. For a purposeful working, you need to involve everyone in the decision-making process.
Decision Making is a difficult Process but an essential part of your goal achievement working. Suppose, you have organized all the resources essential for your project and you’ve just brought your team together to kick-off a new project. But, you quickly run into problems agreeing the right way forward.
During the discussions, a most dominant member of your team, immediately makes a suggestion and starts talking about its benefits. Other member begins arguing with him, claiming that his idea is more efficient. The third one who often has brilliant ideas, is too overwhelmed by both persons to speak up. Soon, you feel mess and become ready to abandon the meeting!
If you have been working in a team, then this scenario may sound familiar. It can be difficult to get a team of people to reach consensus on a decision, especially when personalities, viewpoints, and attitudes clash with each other. In some situations, you can cut through these problems with decisive leadership or, you need to find another way forward. You need to solve the problem very methodically. You may take the following steps.
- Framing the problem.
- Having an open discussion.
- Identifying underlying concerns.
- Developing proposals.
- Choosing a direction.
- Developing a preferred solution.
This way, you can get everyone in the team involved in developing a solution, so that each person feels ownership of the final decision. This process may help you to build up a more productive and committed team. It also encourages people to come up with creative ideas without fear of being judged and helps the team develop better solutions and make better decisions by consensus. It may be most useful for complex projects and problems, where you need to decide on the best way forward, and where the solution to your problem isn’t clear. You may remember that consensus means general agreement, not total agreement. Although this process allows everyone to participate in developing solutions, not everyone will always agree with the final decision.
Step 1: Framing the Problem
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in: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: white; “>In this first step, you need to ensure that you have the right people involved in the process, and that everyone has the information, tools, and resources needed to come up with good ideas.
You also need to decide how your team will choose between options in later stages. For instance, do you want everyone in the team to agree on the final decision unanimously, or will a simple majority suffice? You may mention this option before the team.
Step 2: Having an Open Discussion
Next, meet with the team, present the problem again, and encourage an open discussion. Your goal here is to generate as many initial ideas or solutions to the problem as possible.
Remember that your objective is to get people to think creatively and encourage all ideas, even if these seem impractical at this stage.
As you work through this step, note down all ideas, removing any duplicates. You’ll return to this list in step 4.
An alternative approach is to ask people to submit their initial ideas and solutions anonymously, before you meet face-to-face.
Step 3: Identifying Underlying Concerns
The next step is to identify “underlying concerns” – these are the constraints that you need to meet, and the problems that you want to solve, once you’ve made a decision. You’ll then use this analysis to come up with and improve solutions in the next step of the process.
Start by exploring what these concerns are with your team.
Then, identify key stakeholders (including people outside your organization) who are affected by the decision. (Depending on your situation, you can do this by simply stakeholders, or you can conduct a formal .)
Talk to these stakeholders, or brainstorm and list possible underlying concerns for each of them, again ensuring that everyone in the team partici
pates in the discussion.
Here, you must not confuse underlying concerns with solutions in this step. For example, if the problem you’re trying to solve is to increase the quality of a product, a solution might be to use better components. However, underlying concerns might be to keep costs to a minimum (for shareholders), or to be able to use the product for longer (for customers).
Step 4: Developing Proposals
Now, using the initial ideas that you came up with in step 2, your team can come up with proposals that address the underlying concerns identified in the previous step. To do this, go through each idea in turn, and encourage everyone in the team to contribute to developing it into a possible solution. Again, it’s important that everyone is open-minded about the discussion, that everyone focuses on one idea at a time, and that people don’t criticize any ideas.
By the end of this step, you will have developed initial ideas into more-detailed proposals that you can take forward. Don’t dismiss any proposals yet.
Step 5: Choosing a Direction
You now need to decide on the best proposal to take forward. Begin by going through each proposal in turn, asking team members to highlight what they think are the pros and cons of each one. Again, make sure that everyone is involved in the discussion.
Finally, decide on the best proposal to take forward, using the “decision rule” that you agreed on in step 1.
Step 6: Developing a Preferred Solution
The aim of this step it to look for ways to improve the final proposal further.
As part of this, look back at the underlying concerns that you identified in step 3. If there are any concerns that you haven’t addressed, look for ways in which you can improve the proposal.
Again, encourage team members to raise any further issues, and amend the final proposal to address these.
If you’re developing a solution for a complex project, it may take a while to refine and amend your proposal and project documents. Depending on the type of decision, it may still not be worth going ahead with the best proposal. See our article on Go/No-Go Decision-Making for more on this.
Step 7: Closing
By now, you should have a solution that most people in the team are happy with. To confirm this, use the “decision rule” that you identified in step 1 to ensure that the
re is still consensus to move forward with your decision.
Depending on your situation, you can also use this step as an opportunity to ask for everyone’s cooperation in implementing the final decision. This cooperation can be anything from simply supporting others as they implement the solution, through to providing resources and expertise.
In whole process of decision making, you need to be flexible in how you apply each step of the process. As highlighted earlier, in some situations it may not be necessary to work through each step in detail. You also need to be prepared to move back to previous steps, if you cannot decide on an appropriate solution.
While seeking consensus within a team is important, you must be aware that people may use consensus as a way to avoid taking personal responsibility for their actions or decisions. Don’t allow this to happen.
Be Happy – Build Up Your Own Team.