Facilitator Journal | Issue #0210, June 28, 2005 | 7,000 Subscribers..
Decision-making is a key role groups often find themselves in. As
group facilitators, it behooves us to have a collection of decision-making
models up our sleeves. In fact, many groups get stuck using
the decision-making approach they've always used or the only approach
they know. It's important to remember that there are lots of different
decision-making models and though there's isn't a single perfect
model, there usually is a time when each of them may be called for.
It's knowing when to employ which model that's the key to good facilitation.
So have a look at this week's article, "Use the Right Model
at the Right Time," to review five different decision-making
models and the contexts and pitfalls of each. I'd like to thank
my friend and colleague, Jessica Hartung of Integrated
Work Strategies, LLC for her contribution to this article.
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Use the right model at the right
There are lots of ways to make decisions. But sometimes we get stuck using
the approach we've always used or the only approach we know. The thing
is, there are lots of different decision-making models. None of them is
the best, but each of them, at one time or another, is the best one to
employ given the situation.
Five different decision-making models are summarized below. Each one includes
the related context and concerns around its application with groups. Get
to know these models and when to best employ each one.
Model: Information and authority reside with the leader and
those who will implement the decision. Appropriate when a small number
of individuals will carry out the work for the whole.
Method: In contributive decision-making, a leader
and key implementers receive input and suggestions from all members
of the group, but ultimately, the small group decides the direction
to take. Contributive decision-making is similar to the Consensus
model but narrows the actually decision-making body to those who will
the complete work associated with the decision.
Concerns: The contributive decision-making method
requires explanation and practice before most groups become comfortable
Model: Team members have information related to the decision.
Authority resides with the leader. Appropriate when the leader must
make a decision but needs input or information from others.
Method: In the participative model, the leader makes
a decision after receiving information and suggestions from other
Concerns: While the leader receives input from others,
implementers may disagree with the decision. There is also a lack
of group responsibility.
Model: Information and authority reside with the leader.
Appropriate when the leader alone has knowledge related to the decision
or when time is critical.
Method: The leader controls the decision without
input or suggestions from others and holds personal responsibility
for the outcome.
Concerns: This model is non-participative. Others
in the organization may not support the decision and there is a lack
of group responsibility for outcomes.
Decides-Voting Model: Information and authority reside with
the leaders and all group members. Appropriate when all group members
have knowledge about the decision and formality required.
Method: The leader shares control of the decision
by allowing the group to vote. The outcome is decided by majority
Concerns: Those who disagree with the decision may
undermine efforts to implement it.
Model: Information and authority resides with the
leader and all group members. Appropriate when participation from
all group members is important and the decision will impact the group
as a whole.
Method: Everyone in the group needs to agree and
make a decision together.
Concerns: Has the potential to be very slow or to
hold a group hostage if group members fail to agree.
About the Author: Developed
by Integrated Work Strategies, LLC,
in conjunction with Conversant, LLC Boulder, Colorado.
Get familiar with each of these models and their pro's and con's. Then
practice employing the most appropriate approach the next time your group
needs to make a decision. We'd love to hear what happens!
Please send us your comments.
This 30-page collection contains
20 models on practically every aspect of group facilitation
including decision-making, communication, intervention,
teamwork, training, and more...
Owners of this guide are granted a license to
copy and distribute this material in their own trainings, workshops,
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1. Basic vs. Developmental Facilitation
2. Conversational Architecture
3. Core Values of Intervention
4. Decision-Making Models
5. Diagnosis And Intervention Model
6. Evolution of Dialogue
7. Five Decision Rules
8. Full Participation Model
9. Three “I’s”: Invite, Inspire, And Incite
10. "Functional" Group Model
11. Integral Learning Model
12. Integral Meeting Model
13. Intervention Depth Model
14. Kolb Learning Cycle
15. Ladder of Inference
16. Learning Model
17. Levels of Personal Development
18. ORID Model
19. Remote Working Relationships Model
20. The Shadow Work Model
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