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How to make decisions in group meetings

May 2022

I was elected to lead, not to read. I choose number 3! -- President Arnold Schwarzenegger: The Simpsons Movie

If you have job in the Enterprise, you'll probably end up in a lot of meetings. In those meetings, you'll need to decide things. How do you decide things with a group?
Here's an approach that's worked really well for me. They key thing is making the group see that one particular approach is the obvious choice. This takes a lot of the conflict out of the conversation.
Personally I love using a whiteboard to draw out the problem as well as the solutions. I typically number them, and then layout the Pro's and Con's so that we can say "#2 makes sense", or "#1 has an issue", etc. Here are the basic steps.
  1. Define the problem. Ensure that everyone is on the same page with what problem we are actually solving, and that we have the facts straight.
  2. Define ALL the options that are available for a solution.
  3. Lay out the Pro's and Con's of each solution in a non-biased way. Paste this into the meeting chat so that everyone can read them.
  4. At this point, it should be fairly obvious which option is the best, typically the one with the most Pro's and the least Con's. Help the team choose the option that makes the most sense.
  5. Document the decision and send the document out to all attendees, and store it in a centralized place. Now you don't have to rehash this conversation 100 times.
It's just that simple. It's a great way to get people to see the problem, the options, and the pros and cons of each option.

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