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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.


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?


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


  • 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).

Related Resources

Essential Skills for Effective Meetings

Includes all six core competencies for mastery.

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Meeting Agenda Templates and Guides

How to Create a Group Decision-Making Matrix

Tammy Adams Spann - This process helps you and your team get clear on how key decisions will be made in the organization. At the end of the meeting, you will have a documented Decision Matrix listing types of decisions and how your team intends to handle each one going forward. Teams that use a Decision Matrix experience increased... [ more ]

How to Establish Decision-Making Criteria with a Group

Beatrice Briggs - This meeting agenda template helps teams clarify the scope of an upcoming decision, the information they'll need to gather about each option they consider, and the criteria they'll use to evaluate these option. Use this template as a guide to help you prepare for and lead this meeting.

How to Lead an Effective Decision-Making Meeting

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 ]

How to Run a Decision-Making Meeting (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 ]

How to Run a Decision-Making Meeting (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 ]

How to Run a Decision-Making Meeting (Group Consultation)

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

Elise Keith (2021). The teams that operate in uncertain conditions never know what they'll face when they show up to work. Firefighters, athletes, investigators: they can't plan what will happen each day. Instead, they develop skills for performing in a variety of situations, tools for assessing the situation they find themselves in, and then respond with their best guess at what they believe will work in the moment.

Elise Keith (2021). We all know that taking the time to think through our options and discuss them as a team can lead to better decisions. The quality of the decisions we make determines much of our later success. But in reality, we rarely take the time to complete even the most basic analysis. This article describes three ways to establish your decision making criteria.

Elise Keith (2020). How is your organization going to survive and thrive in the emerging economy? That's the question on everyone's mind right now. Later when we look back, it will seem so clear. Our grandchildren will shake their heads and say: "If I was alive back then, I totally would have...." And then the smug little darlings fill in the blank with whatever proves to be so very obvious in hindsight. Whatever that is, it's not so obvious now. All we have are clues. Historic events that share some of the same patterns. Bits and pieces of evidence that, if we could just summon enough inner Sherlock, we could see a perfectly correct, elementary solution. We have a fogged-over, dirty window of opportunity. We can't see what's on the other side of this window, and we're racing towards the future at full speed. We have no choice but to move forward into this uncertainty. We can't wait for the answers, because if we do, we'll miss the opportunity to be a part of creating those answers.

Elise Keith (2019). We've done A LOT of work on decision-making in meetings, with lots of experts in lots of industries. We also happen to run a company here. Through all that, this article describes the five steps (and backing resources) we recommend to clients working to improve their decision making processes.

Elise Keith (2019). At Lucid Meetings, our mission is to make it easy for teams to run successful meetings every day. Teaching teams the skills they need to run successful meetings seems like an obvious way for us to fulfill this mission, which is why we've now opened our first courses to students. We opened Meeting School now because, after over a decade of research and work with high-performing organizations, we know what works.

Beatrice Briggs (2019). One of the most important reasons for holding a meeting is to make decisions. Yet too often, the decision-making process degenerates into a battle between competing points of view. Participants become polarized, entrenched in their positions and paralyzed by their disagreements. This blog article talks about how to prevent that trauma and paralysis.

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


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 polling system used to bring out a group's opinions regarding the highest priority items on a list. The technique is called “Dot Voting” because, in face-to-face meetings, votes are cast...
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...
Hummed consensus is a technique championed by IETF committees to quickly determine if the group has reached an agreement. Before the committee takes a formal vote on a decision, the meeting leaders will ask the group...
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...
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....
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...

Meeting Type

A Pre-Mortem is a meeting before a project starts in which a team imagines what might happen to cause a project to fail. The team then works backward to create a plan to help prevent potential obstacles and increase...