How each of us process information and make decisions can be as unique as our fingerprints but there are some common themes as to how individuals process information and make decisions. Understanding these themes and putting this understanding to use when working as part of a team can significantly improve the team’s decision-making process and results. Following is a list of the top 10 factors or approaches to take into consideration. With a very diverse team the needs of everyone can vary greatly and cause great angst. However, if you can understand the various needs and work through them, you will likely make superior decisions as a team as you will tap into each team members strengths when it best suits the challenge.
1. Depth of information required before moving forward.
2. How information is processes b internally or through verbal discussion
3. Risk tolerance
4. Need for perfection or close enough rule
5. Response to time pressure
6. Tolerance for constructive/public conflict
7. Comfort level with brainstorming
8. Tend to make decisions based on fact or intuition
9. Historical presidencies that need to be taken into consideration
10. Is the decision a “one off” or part of a bigger picture decision?
When working as part of team you do not need to go through this checklist each time a decision needs to be made. However, spending time during the formative stages of the team to understand where people sit on each of these areas could be extremely beneficial in future meetings.
So, take an issue that is relevant to the team but not too charged and clearly define the objective of the meeting to be twofold:
1. Make a decision as a team and
2. Discuss the team’s different approaches to making decisions.
Review each of the dimensions listed above and have team members state their preferences and why it is important to them. Dealing with these differences up from and gaining an appreciation of where others are coming from will allow them to listen and actually hear each other better especially when discussing a very charged decision. The process of decision making will be vastly improved if team members can understand where their counterparts are coming from and highly functioning teams will make the most of this diversity to make superior decisions.