How to Effectively Manage Complex Business Decisions
When you first start a business, you can move fast. You act bold and take big risks. There’s no red tape to get in the way of major decisions. This is an exciting time in a company’s life, but it can’t last forever.
As your business grows into an organization, everything slows down. Individual decisions become group conversations. More opinions enter the fray, and disagreements emerge. You can’t make radical decisions on your own anymore. Every idea goes through a compromise phase before reaching fruition.
You must develop a system which circumvents the more annoying aspects of this group decision-making. An effective method in this area is crucial for proper management of a growing company. You need know how to make decisions with your team.
The Problem with Group Decisions
Everybody has had the experience of sitting through a long meeting where nothing gets done. It feels bad to waste your time like this. Dysfunctional meetings are often doomed from the start. If more than a few people are involved in an open problem-solving conversation, progress rarely happens. It’s nearly impossible to get more than three people to agree about anything.
These meetings often start with a reiteration of the problem at hand. A decision is proposed, and members of the group take sides of agreement or disagreement. Before any consensus is reached, other ideas come up. The discussion grows more complex, with multiple ideas circulating and being attacked from various angles.
In the end, nothing is decided. With so many ideas in the air, and so little understanding of how to move forward, the meeting ends without resolution. This is an example of a terrible meeting that wastes a lot of company time.
The Key to Better Decisions
The key to better decision-making is to clearly define each person’s role. When people know what their purpose in the process is, they can do a better job. You should define three roles for people who participate in decision-making meetings:
1. The Moderator
This person’s job is to run the meeting. They have to stop the conversation when it isn’t useful. Whenever people start talking over each other, or an impractical idea is taken too far, the moderator has to step in.
This is a difficult job. The right person is able to firmly guide the group conversation without making anybody angry.
2. The Decision Maker
This person’s job is to make the final decision. It is often the decision maker who speaks the least during the meeting. They need to listen closely and take notes. As the group works through various ideas surrounding the decision, the decision maker sits back and thinks deeply.
The moderator is crucial in facilitating the decision maker’s role. They handle the flow of the meeting, leaving the decision maker free to contemplate.
3. The Think Tank
This role refers to the group of people who are neither the moderator nor the decision maker. Everybody else in the room is a member of the think tank. This role is fun. Being a part of a think tank feels important. Best of all, it’s a perfect description for what these members of the group should do. Their job is to help the decision maker think about the issue at hand. They want to bring up as many new insights as they can, working hard to maintain a polite and productive conversation.
Most importantly, members of the think tank do not have ownership over the final decision. They should not stress about what happens after the meeting. All they have to do is participate in the conversation, providing as much helpful information as they can.
Finalizing the Decision
The decision maker has total authority over the final decision. Don’t ask them to say how they feel during the meeting. Instead, let them leave and mull it over before making their final choice.
Once a decision is made, that’s it. Assuming that no higher-ups at the company want to veto the choice, it’s a done deal. There is no point in having additional meetings to challenge the decision.
Members of the think tank can disagree with the decision, but they must accept it. They have already shared their opinions, and there is little value to repeating them. At this point, the conversation is over and stays closed.
If you follow this system, you will notice your business becoming more flexible with its decision making. You’ll be able to handle difficult decisions more quickly. Your business will be a well-oiled machine with the power of effective decisions.