Great decisions do not happen by chance, writes Howard Guttman, a New Jersey-based management consultant, in Great Business Teams: Cracking the Code for Standout Performance. When faced with a business challenge or opportunity, it’s important to have a strategy in place for decision-making. Guttman offers valuable advice to ensure you make choices that will drive your business forward and get you to your desired outcome faster:
Form a steering committee: More heads are often better than one. Develop a team of approximately two to three people who will be responsible for researching and presenting their findings and recommendations to you or your entire staff. (Remember to set objectives and a deadline for when the team will present its conclusions.) Your guiding principle: Identify the smallest number of people whose point of view adds value to your business (e.g., trusted advisers or staff).
Assign accountability: Every team needs a point person—an individual who is responsible for achieving closure. Your chosen point person should be process focused, able to depersonalize and someone who sees the big picture. The most important selection criterion is not the person’s job title or content knowledge, but his or her process capability and an ability to get things done.
Agree on your final decision-making mode: There are three basic decision modes: (1) Unilateral, where the final decision is made by one person with no further input from others, (2) consultative, where the decision is made by one person after getting further input from others, and (3) consensus, where everyone on the team has input and agrees to live with the outcome. It matters less which mode is chosen. What’s important is that everyone agrees on and adheres to the selected mode.
Follow-up: Never consider a decision to be permanent once it’s made. Market conditions, technology and government regulations, for instance, make change inevitable. Set a post-decision review date for assessing whether it is best to hold fast, make modifications or overturn the original decision.