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Team Decision-making Reaching Consensus for Better Decisions

While many of the decisions we make on a daily basis are quite simple, some are not. These decisions may involve assimilating a huge amount of information, exploring many different ideas, and using many strands of experience. And the consequences of the right or wrong decision may be profound for the team and the organization.

So, should leaders be decisive, think the issues through on their own, and take firm action? In some cases, no.

There's a limit to how much information any one individual can process, and a limit on how many perspectives one person can see. Many decisions need full group participation to explore the situation, provide input, and make a final choice. Groups can often make better decisions than any person operating on his or her own. This is one of the main reasons that good companies have boards, where important decisions are taken.

The problem is that when you bring other people into the decision-making process, you need to approach decisions differently. These approaches vary, depending on a number of different factors, including:

· The type of decision.

· The time and resources available.

· The nature of the task being worked on.

· The environment the group wants to create.

Understanding why and how best to organize decisions for your team is an important skill.

The Challenge of Team Decisions

Using team input is challenging, and it takes preparation and time. As the saying goes, if you put three people together in a room, you'll often get four opinions. People can often see issues differently – and they all have different experiences, values, personalities, styles, and needs. Team decision-making strategies should therefore be used when you want to get participation and achieve consensus.

Team Consensus Methods

When your whole group needs to be involved in the process, you need to explore consensus decision-making models. With these, each team member has the opportunity to provide input and opinions. All members discuss alternatives until they agree on a solution.

With consensus, there's often compromise. Not everyone gets everything they want out of the final decision. However, because everyone has fair input, the decisions reached are often ones that all can live with.

Team decision-making is often time-consuming, meaning that it makes sense to prepare for it properly. Before you organize full team participation, make sure that it's appropriate, and that you have the necessary time and resources for it.

However, teams can often commit more enthusiastically to decisions reached through consensus. Using a variety of techniques, you can achieve this in such a way that everyone has a chance to contribute to the final result.

Notes: strands – частина проблеми


1. What may the decisions involve?

2. Should leaders be decisive, think the issues through on their own, and take firm action? Explain your answer.

3. What do many decisions need?

4. How do approaches to decisions vary?

5. Why is team input challenging?

6. How long should all the members discuss alternatives?

7.What decisions are more effective: those made by oneperson or decided by a team? Why?

8.Are you a team person?

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