7 Decision Making Styles

Keep your competition guessing, and your team agile

In today’s dynamic work settings, it’s easy to default to a common decision making cadence. You run your meetings a certain way and you might think it’s a predictable, winning formula.

Once I met with the head of a successful investment firm, who boasted that “we make the majority of our decisions by consensus.” It’s no wonder they can’t agree on what lunches to order!

In all seriousness, choosing a default decision-making tool has one major disadvantage. It makes you predictable and may not be the appropriate style for a given scenario. Furthermore, it’s just a matter of time before your competitors find out how you operate. They WILL out-maneuver you.

That’s why marketing leaders need these 7 decision making styles from which to choose.

Decision by authority; no discussion. Use this if you must make some routine decisions, or if your team lacks the skills to make them alone. The disadvantage is that you will gain little to no commitment from the team.

By an expert member on the team. This is a fine way to reward someone on the team, and empower them. Unfortunately, your team may not agree. And they certainly will not express immediate buy-in.

By an average of the members’ opinion. Here’s another option, similar to #1, for routine matters. The challenge is that your group will not be interacting with one another, and you may foment conflict.

When an authority makes decision after team discussion. The good news is that the probability of team commitment will increase. Unfortunately, you may also foster group think. You also need to be patient as you listen intently to their feedback and push-back.

Decision by majority control. This works well when you are facing a low priority challenge or issue. Do not expect full team commitment; your detractors or minority members may not feel as if they are being heard.

Decision by minority control. This works well when you need to change or choose course under time pressure. Committees often model the minority control approach. This approach also works when you do not need full commitment.

Decision by consensus. While this is the slowest strategy of the seven, this creates lasting change and commitment. For highly strategic decisions, consensus building can work well. Here’s the caveat: this will consume the most resources and energy of any other decision. 

Remember the rule: each decision making mode has its pros and cons. One approach never fits all conditions.

As you prepare for your next team gathering, or ramp up for an exciting new initiative, which approach will you choose? You might just surprise your team with your versatility. And you will not only keep THEM on their toes. You will also run circles around your competitors.

Thanks to Karen Walker of OneTeam Consulting for providing this powerful framework.

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