The 4 Dimensions

Deciding

How does your team make decisions?
"Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision." — Peter Drucker
There are countless frameworks and methodologies for making decisions, but at the end of the day, every group of people with a shared objective need to find their way to agreement about how to move forward. Deciding is fundamentally about the norms your team has for how goals get set and choices are made.
While every team has its own idiosyncrasies, its decision-making style will fall into one of two archetypes.

Authoritative

teams look to team leaders to act decisively and set the team's direction.

Characteristics of

Authoritative

teams

  • Decisions are predominantly made by team leaders or a small group of team members, with relatively little input from the broader group.
  • Team leaders provide clear direction and explicit instructions for tasks and projects, with communication generally flowing "from the top."
  • Decisions are typically made quickly (sometimes unexpectedly so), without much visibility into the decision-making process.

Where

Authoritative

teams excel

Environments where decisiveness is essential, e.g.,

  • Emergency or crisis situations where rapid, decisive action is required. The clear chain of command in an Authoritative team ensures quick implementation of necessary actions without delays caused by extensive deliberations.
  • Large corporations or organizations with many layers of hierarchy, where an Authoritative approach can help cut through the quagmire of constant debate and inter-department coordination.
  • When projects require a fast turnaround and there's no room for error or prolonged discussion, Authoritative teams can execute tasks efficiently and meet deadlines without compromise.

Concordant

teams collect input from everyone on the team and consider many different viewpoints before making a decision.

Characteristics of

Concordant

teams

  • Everyone’s opinion is sought and valued, ensuring a collective agreement is reached before moving forward. You prioritize involving all team members in the decision-making process and having every team member on board with the final decision.
  • Deliberation is the norm, and transparency about a decision-making process is key to getting things done.
  • You frequently hear about team members "socializing" their decisions, soliciting "input" from others, and looking for "alignment" before proceeding with a decision.

Where

Concordant

teams excel

Environments where team buy-in is essential to success, e.g.,

  • When developing long-term strategies that require buy-in from various stakeholders to ensure successful implementation, the inclusive and thorough approach of Concordant teams is particularly beneficial.
  • In scenarios involving complex problems that benefit from diverse viewpoints and expertise, such as multidisciplinary research projects or complex product development, Concordant teams can use their collaborative approach to arrive at better decisions.
  • When you are attempting something that is risky, iconoclastic, or has never been done, Concordant teams benefit from having everyone bought in on the vision and direction. "If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together," could be an unofficial motto.
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