Whether it’s friends who can’t agree on a place to go for dinner, or a group of executives who can’t agree on who to hire, group decision making can be a time-sucking, money-sucking, frustrating logjam.
Who’s to Blame?
It’s easy to blame disagreement on those with whom you disagree! But the individual players are rarely the problem. In fact, the solution is usually pretty simple, though not obvious. And as we stay focused on trying to convince each other we are right, the answer becomes that much more obscured.
The Real Culprit
Group Indecision is usually a result of one single thing: assuming that the group already agrees on a clear set of goals. A group without a clear, agreed-upon objective will have a helluva time reaching consensus, and the whole time they won’t even knowing that they lack clarity of their goal.
A group with a clear purpose, on the other hand, will have an easy time making decisions. In business, this also means higher productivity, since there’s less time being wasted on disagreeing.
Common Internal Disagreements
Whenever a group is asked to make collective decisions in business and they can’t do it, one or more of the following things is usually happening:
There is a disagreement on the current state of the business
There is a disagreement on the business goals
It’s not clear who has the ultimate decision making power
All the decision makers are not involved in the process
Because of any of the above, the focus is then on personal tastes instead of business goals
This is never more obvious than when it comes to creative work, like redoing a company website or brand.
How to Avoid Group Indecision
Though this list is written specifically for consensus around creative work, it pretty much applies to all group consensus issues.
1. First, Know Where You Are
If you are a large enough company that you have more than 2 people involved in your decision making process, you must be on the same page about the bigger picture before you set out to redo any of your materials if you want it to be a seamless, valuable process that actually produces results.
2. Agree On Where You Are Going
“Success” can be defined in many ways. One partner wants to make as much money as possible, while another wants to do well but still have time for family. One partner wants to grow the company as large as possible, another wants to stay small but increase profits.
None of these are right or wrong, but they require drastically different steps to achieve them. Not knowing that you disagree on which direction you are going in is the recipe for Group Indecision.
3. Get All the Key Players Involved & On Board
Before you dive into the challenge, make sure everyone that needs to be involved in the process is there from the beginning. It’s a huge waste of time to do a the work needed to get everyone on the same page and feel great about your vision, and then have the person with the final say walk in and nix the whole thing. This waste of time is also costing your company money.
4. Get Outside Help
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here, but it always help to have a third party who knows how to ask the right questions and guide the conversation. Step two can be particularly difficult to do alone.
Why Are We Talking About This?
Because we don't want you to be an ass, we want you to be a BADass! And when it comes to creative work, steps 1-3 are crucial to getting the outcome that you want!
For smaller companies with only a few key players, Worstofall takes the team through our discovery process to ensure that everyone is starting in the same place, and then develop a strategy so we are all heading in the same direction. When everyone is in agreement, the outcome of the creative work is infinitely more valuable in the end.
For larger companies with more than a few key players, in depth strategy development paired with outside research will pay off with more effective decision making moving forward. The value of this strategy development doesn’t end at creative work, but will inform all business development decisions and is worth the investment.