Collaborative decision-making process

colaborative decision-making process

Everyone knows that individual decision making is faster and easier than team decision making, right?

Yeah, as long as the decision maker is fully informed about all the details of a decision and is impartial, the process is certainly faster.

However, if the decision maker is not omniscient and impartial – and this applies to most cases – then the involvement of more stakeholders and specialists undoubtedly leads to better results.

“Collaboration” thus becomes the keyword, even in the decision-making process, and collaborative decision-making, not surprisingly, is at the heart of the world’s most successful teams.

What really is collaborative decision-making

Collaborative decision-making happens when a team of individuals comes to a consensus.

This consensus should be reached on the best possible solution, based on a series of proposals.

Not only does this approach promote a team working atmosphere, but everyone involved is more committed to the successful implementation of the solution.

Below are some steps to make the decision-making process collaborative.

How to make the decision-making process collaborative: Choosing a facilitator

Most initiatives require a facilitator to ensure that the objectives are achieved. Collaborative decision-making is no different.

Without committed leadership the process is at risk of failure.

This facilitator will have the task of managing aspects such as:

  • Ottenere il buy-in e l’impegno delle principali parti interessate
  • Creare definizioni di successo e fallimento per l’iniziativa
  • Allineare l’iniziativa con altri obiettivi
  • Favorire il lavoro di squadra ed il dialogo costruttivo durante l’intero processo

Il facilitatore garantirà inoltre che il gruppo rimanga concentrato sul problema in questione e lo guiderà attraverso il processo di identificazione e selezione della soluzione.

How to make the decision-making process collaborative: Identify and understand the problem

Without a clear identification of the problem at hand, the whole decision-making process may fail and this may lead to team discouragement and confusion.

The first step towards success is therefore to ensure that each member can articulate the problem clearly.


Then, the next step is to list the unknowns surrounding the problem and to track what information has yet to be discovered.

It is also vital to involve the people directly concerned by the problem.

This advice may seem obvious, but if you look at how the most bureaucratic decisions are made, it is not what happens in reality.

However, people who are affected by a decision are generally more connected to the topic than the experts themselves; therefore, they can offer a variety of experiences and valuable information, interpretations and perspectives on the topic.

How to make the decision-making process collaborative: Develop a positive dialogue and discover alternative solutions

Instead of lingering over the negative impacts of the current problem, the team should focus on finding a solution.

It is easy to be overwhelmed with pessimism when attention is completely focused on the negative aspects.

The team should then focus on the details that can be changed and each team member should be free to provide their most original ideas without being judged.

Sometimes the best solution may not be found by the most obvious source or the most renowned experts.

How to make the decision-making process collaborative: Collect data

Once potential solutions are collected, data must be obtained to support them.

The project team should assess and analyse the value of the data collected against the ability to support the predefined successful measures without getting lost in other details of little importance for the specific situation.

How to make the decision-making process collaborative: Consider alternative solutions and make a selection

Now the team is finally ready to choose the best solution to the problem.

The facilitator can help team members to structure their thoughts on each proposed solution using specific tools, such as the decision matrix.

Clearly, there is a chance that an immediate consensus may not be reached and in that case it may be useful to complete the process with other types of tools, such as a cost-benefit analysis.

This will help the team to select the solution that best fits the business objectives.

decision-making process

How to make the decision-making process collaborative: Draw up an implementation plan for the chosen solution

The selection of a solution does not mean that the work is completed. Without implementing the proposed solution correctly, the problem will remain unsolved.

An effective implementation plan takes the final goal into account and focuses on creating steps and activities that will set the solution in motion.

The team should not be frightened if unexpected barriers or obstacles are discovered; this is a common event in the implementation phase.

As with the rest, any problems can be addressed by applying the same collaborative decision-making process.


Organizations of all sorts and sizes will benefit from a collaborative approach to decision-making.

In today’s competitive marketplace, teams must address problem solving in new ways and avoid the dangers and threats that uncertainty, disagreement and confusion can create.

Facilitated and collaborative methodology of a team-led decision making is the shortest path to lasting problem solving and to maintaining or fostering a strong teamwork culture.

Ultimately, pursuing a more collaborative approach is likely to increase the effectiveness of any important decision making process.

Increasing collaboration begins with identifying colleagues who are more likely to provide useful input and then listening sincerely to these ideas before making a final decision.

More importantly, in a collaborative decision making process most decisions are of much better quality and the commitment to those decisions is considerably higher, making collaboration the first choice in a decision making process, and not the last one.

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