We believe that if a decision can't be made in 90 seconds, it should require its own, separate meeting of just the people involved in making the decision. Everyone else should be allowed to get back to their to-do list. Improve your decision making process by calling a meeting solely dedicated to doing just that.
How to Run a Decision Making Meeting
- Invite only the people critical to the decision. Ask yourself who has final say, who has pertinent information related to the decision, and who will be most affected downstream by the decision.
- Briefly state the issue to be decided upon. Someone in the room should be making a clear proposal, if not also providing alternative scenarios for consideration.
- Get clear on the decision making process. Define who has final say and what you need from everyone else.
- Elicit feedback by opening up the floor to other's opinions. Start off by asking for questions from the group. Follow up by letting everyone share their raw reactions. Finally, let anyone raise an outright objection.
- Process the decision. If you're a hierarchical team, let the decider make the call. If you're flatter, find a compromise that's safe to try and integrates feedback from the team.
- Set a date to review the impact of the decision. Define when the team should look back on the decision and reflect on its impact.
- Close with candor. The team shouldn't sit in the room pretending to align only to leave the room to complain and undermine the decision with their teams. Give everyone one last chance to reflect and react and then promise, as a group, to move forward together.
- Distribute the team's decision. Immediately following the meeting, share what decision was made with the wider team and/or organization. If you're comfortable, also share what reactions/concerns were offered and how you'll monitor for those outcomes.
Pro Tip: If you're ready to experiment with faster, flatter ways to make decisions, use consent (no one says no) as opposed to consensus (everyone says yes) to reach a short-term decision.
Takeaway: Making decisions puts a quick stop to endless conversation at meetings and gets people back to being productive.