Thursday, June 25, 2009

Decision Making Difficulties

Some meetings seem to drag on as group members struggle to reach consensus and make decisions. The responsibility for coming to decisions rests squarely with the chair or leader. Some common reasons why groups seem unable to make decisions include:
  • Goals and outcome are not made explicit for the discussion topic.
  • Certain participants get side tracked on peripheral issues.
  • Consequences of not deciding are negligible.
  • Philosophical issues divide people.

There are a number of things you can do as a leader to help a group reach concensus and make decisions more efficiently. These include:

  • Create expectations with actionable agenda items that clearly convey what is expected.
  • When participants seem totally blocked and unable to break through an impass, go back to the initial question or purpose of the activity and restate it.
  • Ask which alternatives are supported by data.
  • Ask if “outside the box” alternatives have been fully considered.

Posted by Myrna Meadows, NRS, International Falls

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