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You can find an introduction to Decision Making Meetings in Chapter 26 of Where the Action Is. These resources will help you plan, run, and troubleshoot the specific Decision Making Meetings your team needs.

Definition

A Decision Making Meeting is used by teams when they need to formally agree on a significant decision and secure commitment to act on that decision.

Questions Answered

  • Given the options before us, which one do we choose and why?
  • Who is responsible for the next step?

Examples

  • New Hire Decision
  • Go/No-Go Decision
  • Logo Selection
  • Final Approval of a Publication

Purpose

  • To decide between two or more options.
  • Secure commitment to enact the decision.

Work Outcomes

  • A documented decision.
  • Clarity about who will take the next steps.
  • Documented messages to share with others about the decision.

Human Outcomes

  • Understanding of the possible options and decision criteria.
  • Awareness of how the rest of the team feels about the decision.
  • A feeling that opinions and concerns were considered fairly (or not).

Meeting Agenda Templates and Guides

Making a Decision by Consensus

Richard Lent, Ph.D. - True consensus is something we value for its ability to unite a group around a particular decision. Too often, however, all we achieve is false consensus in which participants don’t share their concerns and the leader presumes to have everyone’s support. Later, however, the decision may come undone. Here’s how to... [ more ]

Monthly + Anytime Decision Making

Elise Keith - This meeting agenda template explains how to prepare for and run a solid decision making meeting. This straightforward process walks your team through the critical decision making steps. It doesn’t rely on any specific analytical frameworks or fancy group exercises. You can run this meeting as is, or use it as a... [ more ]

Reaching Decisions by Consent and Compromise

Richard Lent, Ph.D. - An effective meeting should build alignment and commitment to any decisions. Different approaches to reaching decisions can be more/less useful in building commitment. And different approaches require different meeting actions. Consent and compromise are two of these ways of reaching a decision with a group.... [ more ]

Using the Group to Consult to the Final Decision Maker

Richard Lent, Ph.D. - Here you ask for the group’s input to shape a decision you are about to make. You propose a decision and gather the group’s reactions. This is an effective approach when you want to test some draft decision with the hope of modifying and improving it before deciding on its final form. This meeting agenda template... [ more ]

Lucid Blog Posts

Tammy Adams Spann (2018). Have you ever given your opinion and had it implemented as a decision? Worse yet, have you made a decision only to have it overridden by someone higher up the food chain?

Elise Keith (2017). We are not always master of our decisions. More and more, research shows that we make decisions not with logic, but automatically in response to millennia of conditioned reflexes. We decide based on past experience with failure and success, regardless of whether that experience applies to the current moment.

Richard Lent, Ph.D. (2016). As a leader, you can choose to make your meetings more effective by understanding how to structure them and when to hold them to accomplish real work together. Effective meeting structure is the key.

Glossary of Meeting Terms

Technique

The 2x2 Matrix is a decision support technique where the team plots options on a two-by-two matrix. Known also as a four blocker or magic quadrant, the matrix diagram is a simple square divided into four equal...
A criteria matrix is a valuable decision-making tool that is used to assess and rank a list of options based on specific criteria. For example, the simplest criteria matrix will compare the Pros and Cons of each...
A decision tree is a decision-making aid that compares options by projecting what the expected outcome of each choice might be. Teams that use a decision tree often draft the tree together in a meeting on a...
Dialetical inquiry is a group decision-making technique that attempts to combat group think. The practice reportedly originated with Plato, who asked his students to consider both the thesis and antithesis to any...
Dot voting is a fast and easy voting system for determining the highest priority items on a list. The technique is called “Dot Voting” because, in face-to-face meetings, votes are cast by placing a sticky-dot or...
The Gradients of Agreement is a group decision support tool described in The Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision Making. It spells out an 8-point scale for expressing support for a decision. Whole-hearted...
An Influence Diagram is a compact, graphical way to look at the factors involved in making a decision. Influence diagrams show how the decisions, variables at work, and desired outcomes relate to one another, which...
Multivoting is a technique used to take a long list of possible solutions and either narrow it to a smaller list by priority or reduce it to a final selection. Each person in the group gets a set number of votes, and...
The Rational Decision-Making Model describes the steps a group would take when making a logical decision. The steps are designed to reduce the impact of biases, logical fallacies, and knee-jerk reactions on the...
The vote-discuss-revote technique helps a group understand differences and discuss them to achieve consensus. Unlike single-round voting, this technique gives everyone an opportunity to advocate for an option they...

General Term

In a complex decision-making situation, there is no obviously correct choice. Instead, there are multiple answers that warrant further experimentation before committing to a single approach.
Teams may use a compromise approach to making a decision when they can't agree on a single answer. The facilitator helps the team identify all points that they agree on to form the basis of the decision. Then,...
Consensus is a decision-making approach that seeks to secure the support of the whole group for the decision at hand. Many people believe that consensus is the same thing as unanimous agreement, but this is not...
A consulting decision-making meeting involves a group that provides information and advice to one or more designated decision makers. The appointed decision maker(s) then take responsibility for making the final...
A Logical Fallacy is an invalid argument that relies on emotional tricks rather than sound logic. Many logical fallacies feel and sound persuasive, and they can be especially destructive when used in meetings. Some...
If a group makes a decision during a meeting and everyone says that they support the decision, but then when they leave the room they talk privately about how they think the decision is flawed, that decision is said...
Many meetings use voting to evaluate group consensus and confirm decisions. Some votes are formal and binding, such as the votes on a motion during a board meeting or other meeting using parliamentary procedures....

Meeting Type

A Pre-Mortem is a meeting before a project starts in which a team imagines what the project would look like if it succeeded and if it failed. The team then works backward to create a plan to help prevent potential...