Not all group decisions are good decisions.  This Harvard Business Review article identifies seven simple strategies for more effective group decision making.  Following these strategies will increase the likelihood of a productive process when using Growth CPR ideas to facilitate a meeting.

  • Keep the group small when you need to make an important decision.

Large groups tend to make biased decisions.  This article suggests that the decision-making group be kept to between three and five people.

  • It is better to choose a heterogenous group over a homogenous group (most of the time).

Homogenous groups are best when the issue is about structured environments such as improving a specific process.  Otherwise, a heterogenous group is more likely to achieve a better outcome.

  • Adopt a strategic dissenter.

A ‘devil’s advocate” is often the best defense against the groupthink.

  • Collect opinions independently.

A coordinator should facilitate the meeting by gathering opinions beforehand, anonymizing the opinions, and circulating the document before the meeting.  This helps mitigate perceived seniority, alleged expertise, and hidden agendas.

  • Provide a safe space to speak up.

There are three basic elements that create a safe space.  One, focus feedback on the idea not the person.  Two, express comments as a suggestion, not a mandate.  Three, express feedback in an empathetic and appreciative manner.

  • Don’t over-rely on experts.

Invite experts to provide their opinion on a clearly defined topic and position them as outsiders to the group.

  • Share collective responsibility.

The outcome of the decision should be delivered by the group.  All members of the team should feel accountable for the outcome.

As the article concludes, “following these steps doesn’t guaranteed a great decision.  However, the better quality of the decision-making process and the interaction between the group members, the greater your chances of reaching a successful outcome.”

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