Decisions fuel momentum and progress. If your culture is impacted by chronically slow decision making, paralysis of choosing the “right option,” and/or “death by meeting,” may I recommend the following 12 decision-making questions to ask BEFORE you call a meeting:
- Is there a decision to be made? (If not, don’t have a meeting*)
*Exception: If you need to create an implementation plan or address conflict
- Can this be decided with one other person? (If yes, one-on-one meeting)
- Who must be involved? (vs. wants to or would be nice to include)
- Who in leadership must be involved, if anyone?
- Is this decision more important than following through on our current commitments?
- What is the decision that needs to be made? (clearly define)
- What type of decision needs to be made – yes/no or choosing best option?
- What criteria/boundaries does the decision need to take into consideration? (budget, deadline, people-power available, customer criteria)
- Which of these criteria are perceived as non-negotiable vs. like-to-have?
- Who is responsible for making the decision? What type of decision making is being used?:
- Authoritative – I’m making the decision**
- Collaborative – I’m looking for help to think this through, but I will ultimately make the decision – (make sure to clarify who is the “I” here)
- Democratic – We’ll put this to a vote, and the solution with the most votes wins
- Consensus – We all have to agree (use sparingly – excellent for garnering buy-in however very process/time intensive)
- Delegate – You decide without me**
**does not require a meeting
- How urgent is the decision – important/urgent quadrant (deadline?)
- What is the decision deadline?
Make sure to capture, share and file meeting highlights:
- Who was at the meeting?
- What decision was made?
- Who made the decision?
- What were the criteria?
- What other options were on the table?
- What are the action items (what, who, timeline)?
- Who is the champion for tracking/insuring follow-through?
Define when it’s acceptable to reopen a decision:
- Reopen if there is important new information – customer, cost, safety
- If the decision has proven not to work
- Mission critical to change course (rather than preference)
- To reopen a decision, all key stakeholders need to be together again (original group–avoid bifurcation)