Making decisions as a team requires a shared understanding and procedure for accomplishment. The confusion and strife that occurs because the team cannot make a decision will ruin any progress made on the work. A known and agreed-upon procedure must be used for decisions to be made quickly and completed on time, on budget, and within quality while the team still gets along.
How to Make Team Decisions
Working with a team of 12 people. They were struggling to make decisions as a team. The team manager Kim, had her goals, roles, and vision clearly articulated, and the team members all agreed that the goals and roles were understood and agreeable.
The problem was deciding how, what and when to implement the detailed parts of the work. The lag was causing increases in the amount of time and cost to the company and also placed stress on Kim because her boss, the company’s CEO, was putting pressure on her to “fix this.”
In a 3-hour team building meeting, the team came up with a decision-making priority list. The above image was shared along with more prescriptive content on Selecting a Decision-Making Approach. Kim, with the team, created a “Decision-Making Chart” defining which decisions she would make herself (Authoritarian to Consultative), which needed to be delegated to specific team members, and which decisions will be made by the group (Consensus to 2/3 majority vote).
A quick procedure and shared checklist of “Selecting a Decision-Making Approach” was created, designed, and agreed upon by the entire team, which can be used with the team and records each member’s preferences and accountability and authority in each decision to be made.
Kim reported that decisions were being made “faster and with greater buy-in from the team” and that her boss shared with her a compliment he received from another CEO of a critical client of theirs. The praise was, “Your team was able to turn around our request in record time. We will be doing more business with you.”
Follow up with the team showed the following results;
- The increased trust of other team members is due to a shared understanding of how decisions are made and who is accountable and has the authority to act upon those decisions.
- Decreased amount of time makes a decision. What used to take a week, and even then, people still did not agree on the decision. Now takes hours or minutes, and everyone leaves in agreement with the decision made.
- Kim feels less stress and anger towards the team. She reported finding more significant areas of cooperation and solutions.
- The team has had their work, and therefore responsibility increased, and they are thriving.
Making decisions as a team requires a shared understanding and procedure for accomplishment. The confusion and strife that occurs because the team cannot make a decision will ruin any progress made on the work. A known and agreed-upon procedure must be used for decisions to be made quickly and completed on time, on-budget, and within quality, while the team still gets along.