The Strategic Decision Making Process in Meetings
How to Take and Influence Decisions of Others
Decision making is one of the hardest things people do in their lives. May it be personal or work-related, it requires basis and time before it gets finalized. Different people have different decision strategies. Some people decide based on their position in the company. Some based their decisions on their previous experiences. Some seek for advice before they can decide.
Knowing how people decide can give you a hint on how to influence their decisions. It can also suggest ways on how to take their choices positively.
Different ways to take and influence the decision making process
- I’m in charge.
Those who say this phrase are normally empowered to take decisions. To dwell is not their thing.
What to do?
Let them decide. They do not want you to tell them what to do. Instead, ask for the next steps. Tell them “How would you like to proceed?” or simply, “What is your decision?”
- I need time.
People who says this either don’t have the mandate to decide so they need to ask someone who has that authority, or they want more time to reflect on your idea. Perhaps, a comparison with other works are also necessary before they can decide.
What to do?
Help them by asking specific questions. For instance, find out how much time they need and why they need it. Perhaps, you can ask how you can help them come to a decision. Ask the appropriate time to call for a new meeting or get their considered input.
- Assure me once more.
Once is not enough for these people. You need to tell them, more than once, why your idea is valuable, beneficial, and reasonable. You need to tell them, again and again, why they need to agree with you.
What to do?
Collect “Yeses”, then propose. Ask successive questions that will lead to that person answering “Yes”. After these successive yeses, ask for his decision. You should be able to get a Yes or a No. If yes, then you both go for it. If no, go back and find out where the person got lost.
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- Know the difference between inform and involve. Informing must be done when the decision has been made. When you start a meeting, tell them about it and never pretend that it’s up for a discussion. On the other hand, if you have an open situation, involve them. Have a room to maneuver. Even an information meeting can have some level of involvement, like the how, where, when and who is committed.
- In a meeting, the decision making process may require some set aside time before the meeting to take place. Consider equally important tasks and deadlines before demanding the decision-makers to sink their teeth into piles of data you offer. If you can make things easier for them, like condensing the material you prepared, it would be better so they will come to your meeting prepared. If they will say they are under-informed for whatever reason, you may need to postpone some of your crucial agenda items. It’s up to you to choose the wisest path.
The decision making process not only needs time, data and basis – it also needs brainstorming and a lot of thinking. Most decisions are irrevocable – especially those that already caused negative impacts and problems to the company, so we really need to be careful in making it.
Learn how to manage meetings by reading Antoni Lacinai and Mike Darmell’s ebook Make Meetings Work.
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