I can’t think of anything more important to a team than learning how to make excellent decisions. A good decision builds morale and motivation. A bad decision can do just the opposite. Dan Rockwell shares some very practical and helpful ideas on good team decision-making.

Guest Post by Dan Rockwell

Teams that always agree are weak. Teams that can’t make decisions are cars without wheels. Some teams advise. Other teams make decisions together. If you’re on a team that makes decisions together, this post is for you. Ineffective teams are lousy at decision-making.

7 dangers of team decision-making:

  1. Circling the black hole. Too much talk, not enough deciding.
  2. Listening to dominant players and ignoring quiet members.
  3. One negative person holds the team hostage. People who play nice lose when one person feels powerful being negative.
  4. Small people who have personal agendas can’t see beyond themselves.
  5. Decisions that address every possible objection are useless.
  6. Lack of accountability. Who owns the decision once it’s made?
  7. Turbulence requires responsiveness.

When consensus matters most:

  1. Whole organizations are impacted.
  2. Authority is low. Distrust is high.
  3. Radical disruption will occur.
  4. Financial exposure runs high.
  5. Ownership of the entire group is necessary.

7 necessities for team decision-making:

“Thinking isn’t to agree or disagree. That’s voting.” Robert Frost

  1. Diversity.
  2. Shared information.
  3. Transparency.
  4. Trust.
  5. Accountability.
  6. Responsibility.
  7. Flexibility.

4 tips for team decision-making:

  1. After reasonable discussion, ask, is  there anything preventing us from making a decision right now?
  2. Send participants into each others areas before discussions.
  3. Assign homework and research.
  4. Ask participants to defend each others suggestions.

Click here to download the team decision-making tool.

How much agreement is enough:

  1. Don’t beat dead horses. Agree that perfect decisions are rare.
  2. Determine how much consensus is enough. (Download the tool.)
  3. Shoot for informed consent. Perfect consensus is a tragic myth for unthinking teams.