Daniel Kehoe: Decision making

WHO calls the shots in your workgroup? When do you make the decision? When do you let your workgroup make the decision? How effective are you as a decision maker according to your workgroup? Is everybody clear on who has responsibility for making which decisions? How much autonomy do you give to your people when it comes to making decisions? Do decisions that need to be made slip through the cracks because people are waiting on someone else to make the decision? The two major problems when it comes to decision-making are: • procrastination – the decision takes too long; and • the wrong decision – the decision is made without consideration of all the choices and all the associated consequences. Here are some things to do to improve decision-making within your workgroup – not in any particular order. • Be guided by your own circumstances. Answer the questions: What needs to happen? What could you do better? • The types of decisions to be made by team members are identified, discussed and agreed. • Who is accountable for making what decisions is identified and applied. • The levels of authority that people have in relation to making decisions is identified and agreed. • Why team members may be unwilling to make decisions is explored and resolved. • The consequences of making a wrong decision are explored and accepted. • Examples of how to make particular decisions are explored within the team. • You have the competence and confidence to use an agreed decision-making process. • You train people in how to think beyond the obvious issues – show them questions to ask which force them to think differently. • You identify and agree the needs and interests of stakeholders who could be affected by a decision. • You discuss team members’ perceptions of their decision-making responsibility. • Situations where people did not make expected decisions are identified and discussed. • You explore and agree why it is important that team members take more responsibility for making decisions. • Feedback is provided on the quality and effectiveness of your decision making. • You explore the consequences of the various options available in relation to a particular decision. • The consequences of not making a decision are known and accepted. • You explain the context and rationale behind decisions that you have made. • You agree the types of decisions where input from the team is desirable. • You agree the types of decisions the leader will make without input from the team. • You explore the nature of the support people need to improve their willingness and competence in decision-making. If you would like information on a system and tools designed to achieve this and much more, see and click on 3. Team Performance.

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