I think everyone who has ever worked, especially in some type of corporate environment can tell you a story or two about terrible meetings they have attended. There are also many, many examples of meetings that, while not awful, are far from productive. One of the reasons for these experiences is that meetings are not often a place where decisions are made effectively – or even made at all.
Meetings, of course, aren’t the only place where decisions can and should be made, but in the context of meetings is one way to talk about how decisions can be made.
That discussion must start with the leader. The leader must consciously (better) or unconsciously (far too often) determine how a decision for any specific situation will be reached. The basic choices are:
An independent decision – one made by the leader alone. These decisions may be announced at a meeting, but by definition they don’t require any input from others; a meeting isn’t required to make them.
- A decision with input - the leader wants input from others before making the decision; a perfect reason for a meeting.
- A collaborative decision – more than just a bit of input, in this approach the group deliberates on the facts and other factors before a decision is made.
- A consensus decision – a decision where the leader themselves isn’t making the decision, but truly the full group comes to the decision collectively.
Each of these decision-making types, including all of the nuanced versions of them, are valid and valuable in the right situation.
Next week I am going to provide readers with the best meeting approach for your situation. Your answers to certain questions will help you create better and more open decision-making processes, and in the meantime help you create more effective and productive meetings.
Oh and one very important reminder:
If you have already decided which direction to go, or which course of action to take, do NOT ask for input.
It damages trust, wastes people’s time and is a dangerous manipulation. I have seen this far too many times. You know who you are……
To be continued…..