The Four Methods of Decision Making
When you’re deciding how to decide, it helps to have a way of
talking about the decision-making options available. There are
four common ways of making decisions: command, consult,
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vote, and consensus. These four options represent increasing
degrees of involvement. Increased involvement, of course, brings
the benefit of increased commitment along with the curse of
decreased decision-making efficiency. Savvy people choose from
among these four methods of decision making the one that best
suits their particular circumstances.
Let’s start with decisions that are made with no involvement what
soever. This happens in one of two ways. Either outside forces
place demands on us (demands that leave us no wiggle room), or
we tum decisions over to others and then follow their lead. We
don’t care enough to be involved-let someone else do the work.
In the case of external forces, customers set prices, agencies
mandate safety standards, and other governing bodies simply
hand us demands. As much as employees like to think their boss
es are sitting around making choices, for the most part they’re
simply passing on the demands of the circumstances. These are
command decisions. With command decisions, it’s not our job to
decide what to do. It’s our job to decide how to make it work.
In the case of turning decisions over to others, we decide
either that this is such a low-stakes issue that we don’t care
enough to take part or that we completely trust the ability of the
delegate to make the right decision. More involvement adds
nothing. In strong teams and great relationships, many decisions
are made by turning the final choice over to someone we trust to
make a good decision. We don’t want to take the time ourselves
and gladly tum the decision over to others.