Most teams we have come across are completely unaware of how they make decsions.

Decision making is a key requirement of any high functioning team. They help mobilise the organisation into action, moving from thinking to doing. So, what happens when your team can’t commit to a satisfactory conclusion?

Research has shown that 72% of senior leaders think their organisation makes poor decisions as much as it makes good ones. The problem seems to be this: most teams usually aren't aware of how they make decsions.

So, to make better decisions, start by agreeing on the best decision-making method for the situation and for the team.

First, ask the team, "How do we make decisions?”.

Invite all members of the team to write down their answers individually and then compare notes. You are likely to discover that answers will be quite different, as everyone will have a different view of how decisions are (or should be) made as a team.

To help you and your team, here’s a framework of the most common decision-making methods:

1. Autocratic:

The leader makes the decision on behalf of the team

2. Consulting:

The leader consults with the team, listening to all of the views before making the decision.

3. Democratic:

The team is given the power to make the decision by a majority view.

4. Consensus:

The team requires 100% agreement to make the decision. NB if this is not reached, the team may have to agree on an alternative way of making the decision or not make one.

5. Delegation:

The team defer to an expert, often in the team, to make the decision.

Of course, avoidance can be used intentionally, too. Putting a decision on the back burner may be better in the long term, particularly if there’s a lot of ambiguity. Sometimes, the best choice is not to make one at all.

Clarity is crucial to make effective decisions as a team. Start your meetings by agreeing on the methods you will use to make them.