Six effective ways to make a decision as a group

Six effective ways to make a decision as a group

Group work. It can be so rewarding. It brings to mind brainstorming and idea generation, where people get to be creative and combine their unique perspectives to come up with something so crazy it just might work.

But what about when decisions need to be made?

Particularly if those decisions are going to dictate the course of the project… and you’re not sure everyone is going to agree. Group decision making is not always easy.

Well, there are some neat tricks (tactics) to help you prioritise ideas (or problems) in order to decide where to focus your combined efforts.

Draw a map

No, really.

Map-building workshops are great for creating a visual representation of the diverse range of perspectives you’re likely to have on a project. Once you’ve got your map, group decision making becomes much easier to facilitate.

Assumption Map

The Assumption Map tactic is truly enlightening. It’s highly visual and offers you a solid course of action to take depending on what your team’s assumptions are, the level of risk they present and how much you know about them.

Priority Map

The Priority Map tactic guides your team to identify what matters most to them as a group. It incorporates an element of debate as well as a visual map, avoiding the snooze-fest of asking everyone a vague question like “So, what do you think we should do?”.

Impact Effort Map

The third and final map! The Impact Effort Map tactic does exactly what it says on the tin. It helps your team narrow down how much effort each idea will require, and the likely impact it will have. This can be especially useful if you have one (or more) ‘pet’ ideas that participants like for reasons besides how effective they are.

Democratise group decision making

These approaches help you give everyone an equal say in what ideas to push forward with. Just don’t ask them to agree on which tactic you’ll use first…

Who, What, When

The Who, what, when tactic is great as it does more than just help you decide on project goals. It encourages the group to define what action they will take, and when by. You’ll be surprised how much more gets done when people write their name against a task in front of their peers instead of just seeing it on a list of actions at the bottom of the minutes two days later.


You start your $100 workshop by giving every participant a cool handful of cash. Figuratively, that is. They get to put their money where their mouth is, which helps avoid any sentimentality in the decision-making process.

Secret Vote

The BSecret Vote tactic allows you to eliminate all but one (or three, if you prefer) ideas from the running. It’s simple enough that once you’ve used it with your team, you’ll notice them incorporating it into their own meetings. 

It’s also great because it neutralises the impact of biases such as the bandwagon effect (copying what the most senior/liked/loud person does). And, it allows people with a dissenting opinion to vote for the idea they truly believe in without having to defend themselves (as no one will know it was them).


Read next…

Not sure that you’re ready for any of these tactics? Take a step back and evaluate your ideas or problems to make sure you understand them prior to any group decision making. Or, if you’ve made the decision but you’re not sure what the path forward looks like, try a Discussion workshop.


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