Organizational Developmental Consultant

New research hints at ways to make meetings more effective

April 27, 2015

The April 4th edition of the Economist shared valuable new research on the pitfalls of decision making in meetings and how to avoid or diminish them.  The article is below and practical tips are highlighted.

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WORKING life often seems like an endless sequence of tiresome meetings. Catch-ups, kick-offs and reviews litter the calendars of most professionals. Effectiveness around the conference table can determine success in almost every career. Chief executives spend a third of their time in pow-wows of one sort or another, by one estimate. Monetary policy is usually set by committee; juries deliberate behind closed doors Continue reading

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Ten Techniques to Make Decisions: #10 Business Case

October 3, 2014

“I’ve been having trouble getting approval for important changes to the way we do business. I can’t seem to get the leadership team on the same page. What can I do?”

#10 Business Case

What is a Business Case?

A Business Case describes the goal, costs and benefits of making a change with the purpose of influencing decision makers to approve the change. Although Business Cases are usually expressed in financial terms and written with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in mind, a strong business case is one that addresses not only the financial rationale for a change, Continue reading

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Ten Techniques to Make Decisions: #9 Impact and Changeability Analysis

September 29, 2014

“Sometimes our group makes decisions to pursue things that we later find don’t make a lot of difference or could make a difference but are out of our control. How can we avoid these problems?”

#9  Impact and Changeability Analysis

What is Impact and Changeability Analysis?

Impact and Changeability Analysis is a decision-making technique that helps a meeting group to isolate and focus on the options that will have the most impact on their organizational goals. In addition, this technique identifies the options that are within their authority to change. This technique results in increased efficiency of effort Continue reading

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Ten Techniques to Make Decisions: #8 Criteria Matrix

September 22, 2014

“I want to make sure that the groups I facilitate are making sound decisions based on agreed-upon criteria, not just on the whims and fancies of the moment. What do you suggest?”

#8  Criteria Matrix

What is Criteria Matrix?

Criteria Matrix is a technique designed to prioritize a group of potential alternatives under consideration. This is accomplished by identifying and weighing agreed-upon criteria against each of those alternatives. Establishing criteria forces a group to articulate and examine their values, rationales, and assumptions before making their decision.

Criteria are standards from which one makes judgments or decisions, and Continue reading

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Ten Techniques to Make Decisions: #7 Three For/Three Against

September 17, 2014

“Because all sides of an issue don’t get equal discussion time, the most vocal and opinionated people in my group always seem to get their way. Is there a technique that can help me alleviate this problem?”

#7  Three For/Three Against

What is Three For/Three Against?

Three For/Three Against is a technique for assuring that all sides of an issue are heard.

By design, Three For/Three Against asks for both the pros and the cons for every option or issue being discussed. This insures that any decisions to be made are based on all of the information Continue reading

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Ten Techniques to Make Decisions: #6 Nominal Prioritization

September 16, 2014

“Our group is usually able to generate a list of goals and actions very easily. But after our meetings, we find that we are over our heads with too much extra work. As a result, nothing gets done. Is there a technique that will help us prioritize our ideas so that we spend our time on only the most important issues?”

#6  Nominal Prioritization

What is Nominal Prioritization?

Nominal Prioritization is a technique for measuring and thereby identifying the priority of issues, decisions, or action plans.

The demands placed on organizations are such that not all issues can Continue reading

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Ten Techniques to Make Decisions: #5 One Hundred Votes

September 12, 2014

“The groups I facilitate often need to prioritize their ideas. It would helpful to understand where the group’s true energy and priorities are so that our decisions are more likely to be implemented. Is there a technique I can use to accomplish this?”

#5  One Hundred Votes

What is One Hundred Votes?

There are times when all meeting groups need to establish priorities. One Hundred Votes is a technique for determining a group’s preferences among a number of different ideas or potential choices.

One Hundred Votes involves each participant distributing a total of Continue reading

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Ten Techniques to Make Decisions: #4 Dots

September 7, 2014

“There are times when we need a quick read on our initial reactions to potential decisions.  Is there a technique I can use to accomplish this?”

#4  Dots

What are Dots?

The Dots technique helps you visually ascertain a meeting group’s immediate reactions to proposed solutions or goals.

Dots can be especially effective when you want to accurately capture the personal sentiments of everyone within your meeting group.  Like Negative Voting, Technique #3 in this series, it allows for dissenting voices to be heard, while also allowing the group to understand who is feeling neutral on Continue reading

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Ten Techniques to Make Decisions: #3 Negative Voting

September 4, 2014

“A majority of our group generally agrees which solutions are best without too many problems. But sometimes I’m not so sure we are in complete harmony. Is there a simple technique that will help insure that we have full consensus?”

#3  Negative Voting

What is Negative Voting?

Negative Voting is a technique that identifies which people do NOT support a proposed decision, instead of those who do.

By identifying those who don’t support a given decision, the meeting group can talk to those people, discover their specific concerns, and identify methods to alleviate these concerns. By doing so, Continue reading

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Ten Techniques to Make Decisions: #2 Multivoting

September 1, 2014

“After we brainstorm, it almost always takes too long to narrow down our options to a few of the most realistic ideas for discussion. What can we do to save time in this situation?”

#2  Multivoting

What is Multivoting?

Multivoting is a technique for narrowing a wide range of ideas or choices down to the few most appropriate, feasible, and important. This technique saves time while still considering every idea that has been generated.

While Multivoting is not a technique for making a single, specific decision, it is a fabulous technique for prioritizing large amounts of information Continue reading

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