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5 ways to help a group think through a complex decision

5. Set a time and space to host this conversation. Hold that time for as long as is needed; schedule follow-up conversations when needed. There is nothing wrong with needing more than one group conversation.

4. Bring pens and paper for everyone into the room, and spend a quiet ten minutes with everyone writing down what they see as a) potential benefits and b) potential detractors. The leader of the conversation should collect these and review them.

3. If the decision impacts your budget, bring your treasurer/CFO/office manager/bookkeeper to the table. Give them several days' advance warning of what the conversation will entail, so that they can prepare the right kind of data, forecasting, budget, etc. This way, no one else needs to make guesses at what the financial impact could or could not be.

2. If the decision impacts personnel, staffing, board membership, or the people of your org, bring in a wider array of leaders and staff members than you think you need. Bring in a member of a different team, bring in someone from a different level on the leadership ladder, bring in a board member if it's about staff and a staff member if it's about the board. This will give you more context and also more social buffering than when a smaller, closer-knit group makes a people-based decision.

1. Follow up by email, not just on where you are in the decision making process, but also providing a synopsis of what your conversation was. Let group members contact you directly with thoughts and questions after the fact. You never know how many "ah ha!" moments will occur after everyone has left the room.

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© 2020 by Elaine Schleiffer