The 5 key factors for collective decision-making


In the last two months, even with significant anxiety and uncertainty, decision-making has become easier in light of the obvious risk. The rules were clear: Wash your hands. Don’t go out unless you have to, Mask always! Now, as Portugal reopens, the rules that were once black and white are once again blending into shades of gray. Once again, it’s up to each of us to figure out what “feels safe” and what feels “too risky”.

For some people, the new freedom will seem invigorating. For others, it’s a daunting responsibility. Sure, the nursery is open, but does that mean sending the kids back? We can now work in the office, but do we feel confident about doing so?

Each of us is about to face hundreds of decisions again, big and small, about how to resume our lives. Obviously it’s going to be stressful. And with so much uncertainty, it’s unrealistic to say that we all already know exactly what we’re going to do.

When we project this theme onto team decisions, the difficulties are even greater. Heterogeneous mental profiles, roles that require different skills, ways of working and the demands of interacting with others are diverse. As a team, how do we make the most of the deconfinement to return to what will be the “new normal”?

It’s up to everyone, not just the leaders, to make sure that this return goes well. It’s important to take certain factors into account, individually and then collectively, to avoid making bad choices. By doing this, we ensure that we get two things we need to move on to the next stage: Flexibility and some Sense of Control.

  1. Ensure that you and your team have the factual and necessary information. Only by knowing what is happening can you make the best decisions in terms of who stays at home, who goes to work, how we connect, how we visit clients and other stakeholders.
  2. Take your emotions and those of the team into account. After considering the facts, and moving forward with your decisions, pay attention to how you are feeling. Many are experiencing the best professional period of their lives… others are desperate to get back to the office to be productive again. Get closer to each other, create moments of connection so that it’s easier to share and make the decision that really serves the common good best.
  3. Choose someone who can advise you and your team well. Find a mentor, coach, advisor or a peer from another department in your company who is trustworthy and carefully chosen to support your decision-making process. Stick to people who understand your team’s position and can offer a truly objective opinion.
  4. Even if you’re already convinced of how you’re going to “deconfine” your team, your actions will need to keep changing with what happens in the context. Try to keep your mindset and that of your team as flexible as possible when reviewing principles and making decisions. More than ever, it will be important to maintain the ability to adapt to change. In this context, “maybe” has to be a magic word that will drive the team forward.
  5. Even weighing everything up, decisions will be made that won’t give the results they hoped for. It will be impossible to guarantee 100% correct decisions. Instead of looking for a “perfect” decision, choose a decision that is “good enough”. This conviction is important to impose on yourself and your team, especially when there is still a lot we don’t know about how the next few months will go.

It will continue to be difficult, but by focusing on these 5 key aspects we will be doing the best we can? “with the information we have”. Connect more, do more things as a team (remotely or in person), be more together… and you’ll make better decisions.

Article for INFORH, written by Luís Rosário Partner at Immersis.

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The 5 key factors for collective decision-making