I've written frequently about the vitally mundane skill of effective team-based decision-making for those executive teams who truly want to scale their business.

The question I most frequently get asked is 'How can I tell--apart from waiting to see how years of decisions pan out--whether we're any good at this?'. Here's the checklist I work through when I'm helping organizations assess their ability to meet in groups and make (and implement) great decisions. While it isn't all-encompassing, it'll give you a good start.

How do you rank with each of these?

1. Meetings about important matters are regularly convened by people other than senior management.

2. Meetings start even if the 'big dogs' aren't there on time.

3. High-quality solutions often emerge near the start or middle of meetings, and rarely in a rush at the end.

4. Participants in meetings engage in rich discussions with each other, not just with 'the chair' or 'turn about'.

5. For a bystander looking in at a meeting, it's often impossible to tell who's nominally in charge.

6. There are few powerpoint-type presentations, as key information has already been circulated and assumed as read.

8. The group self-polices itself, gently but firmly calling out bloviation, passive-aggressiveness and the sin of non-participation.

9. Analysis trumps prejudice.

10. Analysis informed by experience trumps presupposition.

11. Decision isn't conflated with execution--time is taken to establish clear, actionable next steps for every decision.

13. The group reaches out to others not in the meeting for relevant data or opinion as necessary.

14. Meetings can't be rendered impotent or irrelevant by the absence of a single individual.

15. Participants rarely allow themselves to be distracted by competing imperatives.

16. Humor and small talk are used as pacing mechanisms, not as work avoidance.

18. Once a meeting is concluded, participants take cabinet responsibility for the decisions made--no eye rolling at, or sandbagging of, decisions an individual may not have personally agreed with.

19. An understanding of (and respect for) different management styles drastically reduces the degree of personality conflict.

20. Open discussion is deep and rich, ruthlessly constructive, and not ad hominem.

21. The single goal of all participants is to do what's best for the enterprise.

How can you cultivate these traits in your organization? Download a free chapter from the author's book, "The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success" which provides a comprehensive model for developing yourself or others as an exceptional, world-class leader.

Published on: Jun 24, 2014
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