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Consider quality and acceptance when selecting decision-making model

When should you, as a leader, involve others in decisions? When should decisions be yours alone to make?

Here is a guideline to enable you to select the most appropriate decision-making approach: which is more important – the quality of the decision or its acceptance by those it will impact?

When acceptance is more important, the best approach is to reach consensus on how to proceed. When consensus is the goal, everyone may not love the decision, but all must agree to live with it. Consensus building can be time consuming. Just one group member can block a decision if he or she is uncomfortable with what is proposed. Nevertheless, with everyone’s involvement, the process should yield a result for which there is a high level of acceptance.

On the other hand, there are times when the quality of the decision is more important. The person charged with the decision has the information and expertise to decide what action is best. It is time for an “administrative” decision. While the decision may not always be popular, it is the “right” decision under the circumstances.

When faced with a decision for which acceptance and quality are equally important, a leader should consult those who the decision will impact. In the end, the leader decides after considering what was heard from those whose input was requested.

ll three approaches – consensus, consultation and administrative – are legitimate. Each is most appropriate in different situations. As a leader, you must understand which route you will follow when making decisions, and why. This information should be communicated to group members who are entitled to know when their input will be requested and, if requested, how it will be used.


During his More Productive Meetings in Less Time presentations, Nelson Scott provides participants with tools to plan, conduct and follow up meetings more effectively.


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© Nelson Scott.  All rights reserved.

A professional trainer, speaker, and consultant since 1995, Nelson Scott works with organizations that are committed to making the right hiring decisions, developing and retaining productive staff, and strengthening relationships with customers.  Learn more by visiting or e-mailing


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