Decision Making: Guideposts for Committees and Groups

“Nothing is ever accomplished by a committee unless it consists of three members– one of whom happens to be sick and the other absent.”….Hendrick Von Loon

Decision: “What a man (person ed.) makes when he can’t find anybody to serve on a committee.”
Fletcher Knebel

We have all heard the numerous jokes about committees and group decisions. Unfortunately, like many social comments, they are true. As leaders, we recognize that individuals, not committees, have vision, courage, and insight. You don’t want your people to use committees or groups as excuses to hedge their bets and diminish their responsibilities. You want them to be courageous in both decision making and implementation.

Studies show that the pride and social attitudes of workers who have a part in decision making have improved productivity. It is worthwhile to include them in group decision making because they have more “ownership” in the results.

Simple Guideposts:

If you need to have a group involved here are some simple guide posts to help:

* Keep the group small.
When it comes to decision making small is “better”. If the group is large, create sub groups.

* Have your facts ready.
The group decision will be shaped by what the group accepts as truth, so be prepared with accurate facts and information. Do your homework.

* Encourage the free exchange of ideas and feelings.
Be sure that everyone participates in the discussion of issues and the assignment of tasks. This improves productivity.

* Seek opinions.
Don’t go in with preconceived ideas about what you think is “best.” Stay open. As Frank Herbert wrote in Chapter House Dune: “The more people on the committee, the more preconceptions applied to the problem.”

* Keep clarifying.
Keep sight of the objective so you don’t create new problems.

* Keep summarizing.
You will keep everyone on track if you summarize as you go. Summarize both the decision you make and your plans for implementation.

* Use the right people.
Include group members that are appropriate to the decision, otherwise you risk wasting time, money, and resources. If you include the wrong people, you will put them in an uncomfortable position because they will not be equipped to participate in the decision making process. That is a sure way to foster bet-hedging and the unwillingness to be responsible and accountable.

Different Levels of Skills 

Not everyone has the same level of decision-making skills. You must measure the readiness of your followers carefully before asking them to make decisions. When they measure up, be sure to give credit where credit is due. It is easy to overrate the importance of a decision while underrating the work that follows.

The best leaders help others learn to be decisive!

© 2015, Dr. Sheila. All rights reserved. On republishing this post you must provide link to original post.

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