Listen to Les McKeown read this blog post:
I’ve written frequently about the vitally mundane skill of effective team-based decision-making for those executive teams who truly want to scale their business or organization.
The question I most frequently get asked is ‘How can I tell – apart from waiting to see how years of decisions pan out – whether we’re any good at this?‘.
Here’s the checklist I work through when I’m helping organizations assess their ability to meet in groups and make (and implement) great decisions. While it isn’t all-encompassing, it’ll give you a good start.
How do you rank with each of these?
- Meetings about important matters are regularly convened by people other than senior management.
- Meetings start even if the ‘big dogs‘ aren’t there on time.
- High-quality solutions often emerge near the start or middle of meetings, and rarely in a rush at the end.
- Participants in meetings engage in rich discussions with each other, not just with ‘the chair’ or ‘turn about’.
- For a bystander looking in at a meeting, it’s often impossible to tell who’s nominally in charge.
- There are few powerpoint-type presentations, as key information has already been circulated and assumed as read.
- Anecdote is not treated as data.
- The group self-polices itself, gently but firmly calling out bloviation, passive-aggressiveness and the sin of non-participation.
- Analysis trumps prejudice.
- Analysis informed by experience trumps presupposition.
- Decision isn’t conflated with execution – time is taken to establish clear, actionable next steps for every decision.
- Meetings end early as frequently as they run long.
- The group reaches out to others not in the meeting for relevant data or opinion as necessary.
- Meetings can’t be rendered impotent or irrelevant by the absence of a single individual.
- Participants rarely allow themselves to be distracted by competing imperatives.
- Humor and small talk are used as pacing mechanisms, not as work avoidance.
- Unanimity isn’t required to make a fully supported decision.
- Once a meeting is concluded, participants take cabinet responsibility for the decisions made – no eye rolling at, or sandbagging of, decisions an individual may not have personally agreed with.
- An understanding of (and respect for) different management styles drastically reduces the degree of personality conflict.
- Open discussion is deep and rich, ruthlessly constructive, and not ad hominem.
- The single goal of all participants is to do what’s best for the enterprise.
What about you? How does your team rank?