X or Y ?! Ummm or Z ?!

How many times have you stopped and made a Decision ?
decisionmakingWhat percentage of your decisions have you found to be correct decisions after that, and what percentage of them have you found incorrect ones ? How did you take your decisions ? Was there a strategy that you follow or you just followed your sense ? ..

Decision Making seems a very easy for some people, and it seems difficult for some others. Decisions become more difficult to take when it relates to a group of people, not one person. In this post, I will discuss some tips for decision making in a group of people. The same steps can be used in individual decision making.

Decision Types

If you have worked in a team before, you probably have experienced some of these decision making types:

– Unilateral: in which, one person decides for the whole group. For sure, this type is far away from democracy.
– Minority: in which, a few number of members makes the decision for the group. This happens in groups where there are few members who control the whole process of the work.
– Majority: in which, 50% + 1 must agree on the decision. This type of decisions is taken in most democratic groups (e.g. The Parliament). However, these decision yields unsatisfactory situations with the other members who haven’t voted for this decision. Still, it is the most common technique used in groups.
– Unanimity: in which, there is a reasoning discussion that results in everyone’s agreement on the decision.
– Consensus: in which, everyone of the team shares his/her ideas and all members build the decision together.
The difference between consensus and unanimity is that: in unanimity decisions making, some members may be convinced to accept the decision although they have another opinions; but at the end all the team accept the decision. In consensus, as all the team members have built their decision together and negotiate about different alternatives, they will all support the decision at the end with full agreement. Therefore, consensus decision making often takes a long time in the discussion.

Tips in Group Decision Making

When you are acting as a team member in a group, make use of these tips:

  • When you are resolving any issue, never take a decision that results in a win-lose situation. Win-lose situations happen when your decision results in a positive situation for you and it affects other sides of the decision negatively. Although this may seem good for you in the short-term, it will affects you also negatively in the long-term; especially in your relationships.
  • When discussing, don’t give up your opinion to reach an agreement. You should be fully satisfied with the decision and support it with your ideas.
  • If an issue appears and there are different opinions, never make a vote to resolve it. The best act is to discuss everyone’s opinion and share your thoughts. This will results in a positive atmosphere where missing considerations will be highlighted.
  • Believe that diversity will be useful for the final decision.

.. and here are some steps to follow

  1. Define the problem: the very basic step you should start with is to define what the problem is; what you are trying to solve or take a decision in. Sometimes, group discussions drift from the main goal of it.
  2. Identify the decision criteria: determine what factors affect your decision the most. For example, if you are planning to buy a new premises for your company and you got to choose between two offers, factors may include its price, size, location, facilities available ..etc.
  3. Allocate weight to each criteria: assign each criteria a weight that will affect the decision. In the previous example, you may allocate a larger weight to price because you have limited budget. That is, a cheaper premises will be preferred over others.
  4. Develop alternatives: having one alternative will lead you to no decision; the decision is already taken! You should have more than one alternative for your decision to choose from.
  5. Evaluate alternatives: according to the set criteria and weight.
  6. Select the best: according to your comparisons.
  7. Implement.

Following the steps above will give you a deeper focus on the decision making process and allows you to control your actions.

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