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Teamwork skills - improving the way decisions are made

Effective decision making means you make things happen instead of letting things happen.Your team will find that making decisions are required in every activity.These decisions will take place in a situations and problems and can range from the very simple to very complex.Your team must make the right decisions to direct and guide events and actions into a planned course instead of letting events fall to chance.

Your team will need to practice making decisions just like a basketball team will practice their basketball skills.The more your team works at it the faster and better decisions will be made.

1. Recognize the problem.
Your team must first recognize that a problem exists and that change is needed.The team may bring this issue up at a meeting and it may only be a problem for a few on the team.However, as a team, a problem for a few becomes an issue for everybody.

2. Analyze the problem.
Your team must now analyze the problem.This may be done together as a group or assigned to a couple of individuals to do together.You may even want to assign two groups to work independently so that you get a couple different views on the issue.

3. Consider your goals.
Make sure you factor in the goals that your team is trying to achieve.These are the same goals that your team works towards on a daily basis and the ones the company has designed on a broader scale.

4. Look for alternatives.
Here you look for as many possible solutions as can be found.A good suggestion would be to have a brainstorming session with the team.All ideas are recorded and not evaluated at this point.

5. Select the best alternative.
As a team, decide which solution is the best for the situation.Analyze each alternative considering the different costs involved.Keep in mind that costs are not only financial.Your team members may not be responsible for a budget so you may need to explain to them what limitations you have as the manager.

6. Put your decision into action.
Make the decision and put it into action.The team will need to make a plan and put the plan to a timeline to accomplish.Since everyone was involved in the decision making process they should also have ownership for the success of the decision made.

7. Evaluate your results.
Your team must evaluate whether their plan of action accomplished the intended result.If not, you did not make the right decision.Continue to monitor results and tweak the process.The next time your team makes a decision they will have this experience to draw from and should be able to improve on the decision making process.

Here are some guidelines to follow to improve your team's decision making process:
1.Become aware of your company's end goals so that you can always be headed towards those goals.For instance, hire an additional employee to resolve the situation when the company is cutting back.
2.Be objective when viewing the problem.If your team becomes emotionally involved, it will be a lot harder to come to the best resolution.
3.If a decision is reversible, then the team can afford to make a quick decision. Practice making quick decisions when the outcome involves only small changes.
4.If a decision is not reversible, allow time to thoroughly consider all alternatives.

In summary, making a decision is a skill that your team needs to continually practice. They must implement the 7 steps of the decision making process and evaluate each decision to help make the next decision.

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