Declare, Discuss, Decide

Have you been frustrated by business meetings that go in circles never reaching a conclusion?  Here is a simple tool that will make decision making more effective.   One of my clients told me that he first experienced this process at IBM.

The first step is to be clear on the decision that needs to be made, such as, “Which of the proposals do we accept?”.  Each leader then declares his or her position at this time, such as “I favor proposal A”. Then the leaders discuss why people favor one proposal over the other.  After everyone thoroughly understands all the factors considered, the group decides which proposal to accept.

The key benefit to this process is knowing where each person stands at the beginning of the discussion.   Effective leadership teams know that “starting positions” will and should change as a result of what is learned through the discussion.  Where ineffective teams spend their time convincing each other,  effective teams use a spirit of inquiry to explore why others think differently.

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