1. Define the problem or opportunity. What exactly do you hope to make happen?
2. Clarify expectations and desired outcomes. Everyone should know what you are aiming for and how to recognize it. I have written other articles about this phase of goal setting.
3. Make sure that your goal is SMART (I have written another article about this):
Measurable or at least observable
4. Explore alternatives. When feasible brainstorm with your team to create a list of possible alternative solutions. Do not allow criticizing or judging during the brainstorming. If only a part of a solution is good, build on that. During this brainstorming step, you are broadening your perspective. You list of solutions may include some novel approaches.
5. Narrow down alternative solution(s). Now you begin to narrow down alternatives. You allow people to criticize items on the list of possible solutions. You can combine or eliminate solutions.
6. Choose the best two solutions.
7. Compare their pros and cons. If feasible, do a cost – benefit analysis. There are many quantitative analysis tools you can use. Also allow the use of intuition, which often produces wisdom from the unconscious part of the mind.
8. Choose the best solution.
The following graphic illustrates the process of decision making:
Explore alternatives Choose solutions
It shows how the first 4 steps are a broadening process and the last 4 steps are a narrowing down process. Keeping this in mind will help you manage the process for a group. You can remind those group members who like quick decisions to be patient in the broadening phase. And you remind those who like to continue investigating, that a time comes for narrowing down. Both types have to give a little to have a good group decision making process.
You can improve your ability to make good decisions about goals through our individual and Group Executive Coaching – performance management is an entire Module of our Virtual Workshop Series, Leadership Communication® : How to Communicate with Emotional Intelligence for Powerful Leadership (http://www.EmotionallyIntelligentLeadership.com ),
and Self-Study Program (http://www.EagleAlliance.com/services/gec/ssinfo ).
Copyright © 2009, by William R. Murray, President of Eagle Alliance Executive Coaching, LLC. Reprint rights granted to all venues so long as this article and by-line are printed intact with all links made live.