How to Improve the Decision Making Process of Your Business Team

Decision Making Process

Ever tried to make a decision by committee?  Majority rules sound great in theory, but in practice in the workplace, it can lead to indecision, conflict, and confusions.  It is possible for a business team to effectively work together, however.  It just might take improving the decision-making process of your team.

Here’s how (and it’s as simple as 1, 2, 3).

1. Know your Hats

The train conductor wears one hat, the taxi cab driver another.  Different hats mean different jobs, and the word also means that in the business workplace: your hat is your job.

When it comes to creating effective teams, that can operate smoothly and make decisions, name who does what.  Assign responsibilities and then let people run with them!

If you find that one person tries to wear all the hats, you probably have a micromanager on your hands.  You do need to name an individual responsible for the final decision on key projects and activities, but then the group also must stand by that individual. (It’s called empowerment).

2. Act on Fact

Opinions change.  Trends come and go.  One thing you can consistently act on: statistics.

When you compare a measurable quantity to the same measurement, and the only factor that has changed is time, you have facts you can operate off of.  Widgets sold one week compared to the next.  Patients that are seen in a doctor’s office one week compared to the next.  New contacts made for a sales team one month compared to the next.

The production, measured in statistics, of individual employees, tells you who needs your help and who deserves a promotion.

Learn to assign, understand, and read statistics correctly and effectively, and you will not only have a decision making guide, you will also know when you’ve made an incorrect decision—the statistic will worsen.

If your group will agree to act on fact, many decisions will take care of themselves.

3. Cultivate Communication

The key to any effective decision making method is effective communication.  Everyone, from top management to customer service representatives, can benefit from effective communication skills.  Here are some important communication skills to cultivate:

  • Listening—As the saying goes, we have two ears and one mouth, to listen twice as much as we speak. Effective listening may even take practice, but it means listening with the intent to understand.
  • Empathy—Effective listening, by necessity, must also contain a willingness to see things from anther’s perspective.
  • Acknowledgment—Let any speaker, from a customer to a fellow employee, know that their communication is heard and understood, by body language and by your words.
  • Openness—Encourage open and fair discussion. Look for the teammates who do not automatically speak up and ask for their input.  Sometimes the quiet thinker has thought of an incredible solution and only waits to be asked.
  • Recognize an argument—Debate and oppositional viewpoints, differences of opinion, certainly happen, particularly among strong leaders or impassioned individuals. There’s nothing wrong with passion!  Just recognize when someone is really stirring up arguments, whether overtly and vocally, or quietly among teammates.  The ones who stir up the arguments honestly should not have a place at the table, or you will never get your decision making process up and running.
  • Flexible thinking—With all of this open communication must also come a willingness to change one’s mind. Tough for some, and it is fine to acknowledge that, but it’s still okay to require it of your team.

If you can get your group to agree to these terms and this 1, 2, 3 process, you will find decisions happen quickly and efficiently—after all, you are all on the same team!

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