Patterns in Group Decision Making
- Consensus: requires the majority approve, and the minority agree to go along.
- Consensus decision does not fit well with modern business as you often need active assent. Soliciting active assent is not a common pattern in meetings, and is often assumed through tacit silence 1.
- Advice: Any person in the organization can make any decision, but the person must seek advice of all stakeholders and people with experience in the matter.
- Benevolent Dictatorship: One individual makes all the decisions
- Random: Leaves the choice to random chance
- Unanimity: The group discusses the issue until it reaches an agreement by all those that are part of the situation.
- Consent: “no objections”. Consent does not mean you fully agree, but you can “live with it”. It is not unanimity or full agreement.
- Solidarity: unwavering commitment to the group, individual will supressed. 2
Costs per reasonable decision
One observation about decision making in organization is the hidden cost of making reasonable and small decision. For example. if the culture of the organization requires a meeting to decide an option that is interchangeable and small (say requires 1 hour of work), but the meeting involves an hour of decision making between 4 individuals, you’ve added 4 four workers to 1 hour of “real” work.
In order to avoid this problem, decisions should be small, safe-to-fail and made autonomously. High-level strategic decisions will set course for the org for months/years3.