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Decision Making Models: a Primer

There are options

Decision making models must be understood by the team using them, and clear in what is being measured, and how. Naturally there is more than one decision model to choose from, and this post by Judith Stein helps explain a few of them, such as this explanation of what Consensus with Fallback means:

This decision-making model may be the most effective way to implement consensus decision-making because it pre-sets a course of action to be taken if the team is unable to make a decision within an appropriate amount of time. Of course the time allocated for a particular decision will depend on the decision’s complexity, importance and the difficulty of implementation. The preferred fallback may be to the team leader, who considers the team’s input and then decides. The existence of a fallback plan keeps the team moving forward without ignoring input from team members. 

Example: After a lengthy discussion about the team’s motto, the team leader observes that there is still considerable disagreement among team members. She gets agreement from the team to go to their fallback: that she will take all of their input and make the decision herself. The team agrees to this.

Understanding consensus

But a note on consensus: it doesn’t have to do with everyone agreeing on the course of action chosen. It has much more to do with everyone having their chance to speak their mind and ideas within a set amount of time, and everyone agreeing to pursue a course of action even if it doesn’t necessarily align to their own opinions. This process is assured by making sure every team member can answer these questions in the positive:

  1. I’ve heard your positions.
  2. I believe you’ve heard my position.
  3. The decision does not compromise my values.
  4. I can fully support the proposed decision and its implementation.

Read the full article here: http://hrweb.mit.edu/learning-development/learning-topics/teams/articles/models

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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