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.
- 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
Most decision making meetings follow a process that includes these steps.
- Understand the decision that needs to be made.
- Identify the decision making method you’ll use.
- Figure out your decision making criteria.
- Figure out your options.
- Compare the options against the criteria.
- Decide and document the decision.
- Communicate the decision to others.
- Make a quality decision.
- Secure commitment to enact the decision.
- A documented decision.
- Clarity about who will take the next steps.
- Documented messages to share with others about the decision.
- 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).
- Commitment to support the decision and carry out the next steps.
Meeting Agenda Templates and Guides
How to Create a Group Decision-Making MatrixTammy 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 Create Team Camera-Use NormsBetty Johnson, PhD - If you like seeing others’ reactions through their facial expressions and body language, you’re not alone. When other people have their cameras off, maybe you feel less connected, more isolated, and anxious. But roughly a third of remote workers say they are exhausted by expectations to have their cameras on. And... [ more ]
How to Establish Decision-Making Criteria with a GroupBeatrice 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 MeetingElise 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.
Recommended Reading & Resources
- "11 Myths About Decision Making", Cheryl Strauss Einhorn (2021)
- "New Research: Diversity + Inclusion = Better Decision Making At Work", Eric Larson (2017).
- "The Decision-Driven Organization", Marcia W. Blenko, Michael Mankins,Paul Rogers (2010).
- "Battle Axes to Boardrooms: A Discussion with Wilbert Van Vree". Elise Keith (2018).
- Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work. Chip and Dan Heath (2013).
- The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done. Peter Drucker (1966).
- Your Logical Fallacy Is. Gabriel Weinberg.