Making better decisions

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Organizational development Making better decisions

Published on 08.06.2021 by Raphael Stoll, Product Owner Digital Solutions, Post CH Ltd

We make countless decisions every day. Some of these have a greater impact, whereas others have hardly any effect without even realizing it. With that said, it is still worth thinking more deeply about how decisions are made. This especially applies to companies when working in interdisciplinary teams.

To respond quicker to changes in customer requirements and to adapt to market developments, a number of organizations have started using methods to boost agility, self-organization and collaboration.

This means it is becoming increasingly common for many employees to work in interdisciplinary teams. Frameworks and methods help employees achieve good results wherever possible.

Sooner or later, though, the question of how decisions are made in the group is bound to arise. In some frameworks, this question doesn’t seem to come up at all because it comes from certain decision makers (PO decides, the management resolves). But does this automatically lead to the best decisions?

It seems a good idea to consciously address how decisions can be made. There are four ways (more explanations on the website https://www.thehum.org/post/decision-making-methods-for-decentralised-teams):

  • Consensus: the aim of this group process is that everyone involved firmly believes they have come up with the best decision for the group. They all agree with the decision.
  • Consensus: the aim here is for none of the members of the group to have any reasonable objections to the decision. Not everyone has to be completely satisfied with the decision in this instance. It is made when there are no more discernible objections.
  • Advice: the group decides beforehand who to consult before making the decision. The advice or expertise of whoever the group consults provides the impetus for the decision here. The decision-making power can therefore rest with a single individual.
  • Mandate: the group gives one or more people the authority to make a decision on a certain issue or subject area. In this example, the bearers of that mandate are the ones who make a decision, without requiring any further group agreement.

Whichever of these options a team chooses depends largely on the context and task at hand. However, something else is essential for success: namely, the discussion the group has about how to go about the decision-making process. It is important to review the process on a regular basis to make sure every member of the team can identify with it. The discussion also helps to uncover and challenge any overly informal processes that may have set in over time.

On the face of it this may sound like a lot more work. However, you will find that the time you invest in this kind of discussion is time well spent. This is because if a decision made by the group is backed by everyone, the overall atmosphere within the team will improve, and so will the results they produce.

Raphael Stoll, Product Owner Digital Solutions, Post CH Ltd

Raphael Stoll, Product Owner Digital Solutions, Swiss Post, part of an interdisciplinary team that handles track and trace for business customers.

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