Organizational Development Consultant

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 One Hundred Votes amongst the available choices presented. The resulting information can then be used to make decisions about what projects to take on, which ideas to pursue, what direction to go, or which actions to take. This is a very effective decision making technique, as it reveals what a group will most likely implement.

When to Use One Hundred Votes

  • When you want to create a short list of priorities
  • When you need to know where the group’s energy is regarding a number of ideas

How to Use One Hundred Votes

1. After a number of potential options, goals or actions have been identified, charted, and clarified, give each participant 100 votes that they can allocate to this list according to their priorities. To explain the technique, you might say, for example, “Now we’re going to prioritize the ideas we have generated using a technique called One Hundred Votes. You each have One Hundred Votes to allocate among what you believe to be the best ideas. In this case, the best ideas are the ones that you would give priority. You will want to designate the majority of your votes to those. There will also be some ideas that you think don’t deserve any effort or consideration. Don’t give any votes to those. And there may be some ideas that you think have less merit but deserve some attention. Place the rest of your votes with those. But remember that you only have One Hundred Votes. The point of the exercise is to use your votes in a way that accurately weights your individual priorities regarding the ideas we are considering.”

NOTE: All the potential choices need to be posted on chart paper around the room so that everyone will be able to easily cast his or her votes. The participants should write their number of votes directly on the charts in a predesignated area.

2. Tally the votes and display a summary for each choice with the number of people voting and number of votes cast for each issue. For example, 5/58 means five members cast a total of 58 votes. Ask for a few volunteers to help with the addition to keep a fast pace.

3. Ask your participants to take a few minutes to visually review the data they have just generated.

4. Ask the group for their reactions. You might ask, for example, “What are your reactions to what you see?” “What surprises you?” “What questions or concerns do you have?”

5. Decide as a group which issues to focus on and which to put aside.

6. Create an action plan as appropriate.

In Summary:

One Hundred Votes is a technique for identifying and focusing a group’s preferences and priorities.

1. Give each participant one hundred votes that they can allocate to this list according to their priorities.

2. Tally the votes and display a summary indicating the total number of people voting for each issue along with the total number of votes for each issue.

3. Ask your participants to visually review the data.

4. Ask the group for their reactions.

5. Decide as a group which issues to focus on and which issues to put aside.

6. Create an action plan as appropriate.

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You will find my book Mission Critical Meetings: 81 Practical Facilitation Techniques on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Mission-Critical-Meetings-Facilitation-Techniques/dp/1627870377/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408719109&sr=1-2&keywords=Mission+Critical+Meetings

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