10 Tips for team decisions: How teamwork pays off


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TeamDecisions are in vogue, lonely boss decisions are out in current management theory. Yet common decisions are often difficult and take more time. 10 tips to help you succeed.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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The toil of the Team-Decision

Remembering my morning column on Wirtschaftswoche Online, I've dealt with team decisions in more detail. They all too often do not have a good reputation and are - not entirely wrong - as laborious: First, opinions and arguments must be exchanged, then it is common to find a compromise. Lengthy discussions can be the result - and cost one thing: time.

That is why many companies do not even try to make joint decisions. According to the motto "Many cooks spoil the broth", most people, usually the chef, make the decision and present the others with a fait accompli. This avoids the annoying struggle for the best compromise, but often does not lead to the optimal result.

That's what science says

Because Canadian researchers have found that such decisions are less sustainable. Because a team brings more knowledge and more experience into the decision-making process than the individual. The problem can be viewed from different angles.

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Many solutions are emerging. In addition, all of them identify with the solutions they have found and try to implement them more intensively when they have taken responsibility for the decision. And: the responsibility for a decision weighs on the shoulders of all and not of the individual.

How team decisions should not expire

But team decisions can also frustrate - when they go wrong. For example, a meeting that is convened for decision-making, but in reality often has a completely different purpose: self-presentation-

The boss often expresses his opinion confidently, while the "subordinates" hesitate with their counter-arguments. Result: The boss's opinion has a lot more weight in many team decisions. The meeting becomes a pure show event.

Holocracy in the team decision

Much more exciting is the decision-making according to holocratic management methods that promise no universal-perfect solutions: Searched for is not the perfect decision, with which all are satisfied, but the most appropriate alternative action at that time.

The goal is to be able to work with a new idea. Any decision can be replaced at any time by a better one. This allows fast reactions, reduces pressure and reduces the fear of errors. And because all employees can contribute ideas at any time, they feel jointly responsible.

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Reasonably argue

It is clear that team decisions do not have to be as difficult as many believe. And one can quite contradict the boss and represent their own opinion.

It is true that employees often think that the boss may get angry if he is rejected; but the opposite is usually the case: Employees who express their opinions with sound arguments win the respect of the boss and can influence the decision.

Save time

And time does not have to cost the decision-making unnecessarily - it can be done with simple means: who clearly defines the problem, provides all the members in the team with the necessary information and limits the discussion time from the beginning, shortens the often-feared tough tug-of-war for a compromise considerably.

If several people make a decision together in the team, that can be extremely fruitful. So that this is not a tough tug-of-war, you should pay attention to some points.

10 Tips: What you should consider in team decisions

  1. No new items! Even if it would be faster: None. Look for solutions with all colleagues who are concerned about the team's problems. Otherwise, the decision may not be accepted.
  2. Define the problem exactly: Limit the problem very precisely: What is it all about, what is to come out of the decision? If everyone knows what they are talking about, they are more concerned about the topic.
  3. Take care of the information flow: Make sure that everyone gets all the information needed to make the decision, because only then does an exchange of arguments really go on.
  4. Represent also uncomfortable opinions: Do not be afraid to make arguments that contradict the opinion of the boss or the majority as this may lead to better decisions. But: get well and argue well.
  5. Apply creativity techniques: If you are looking for ideas for solving the problem: Revert to creativity techniques like brainwriting: Here you can brainstorm together and find alternatives.
  6. First collect, then criticize: There are two phases in the process of finding ideas: Only the ideas are collected, but not yet commented and evaluated. Only in phase two the ideas are discussed and everyone can give his mustard.
  7. Limit the discussion time: Limit the discussion time from the outset - at some point must be an end to the exchange of information, comments and arguments. And then the decision is on!
  8. Finding compromises: Whom the fronts threaten to harden in the discussion. Look for compromises together. But: all sides must make compromises.
  9. Everyone must support the decision! Make it clear that the solution is important for everyone. Therefore everyone should contribute the decision, because only in this way is the implementation ensured.
  10. Develop goals: Developed for the implementation of the decision action plans and deadlines, so that you can check the status of the implementation on a regular basis.

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