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Facilitating with Ease!, 4th Edition by Ingrid Bens

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Chapter SevenEffective Decision MakingThe logo depicting “Facilitation,” where three people are arranged in a circle.

Helping groups make high-quality decisions is one of the most important functions of a facilitator. It's also one of the most difficult! There are a number of things that make decision making such a challenge:

  • people may be trying to make a decision without having done their homework or being in possession of all of the important facts
  • the key stakeholders or decision-makers may not be present
  • individuals in the group may have a solution or position in mind that they spend their time advocating without being open to further input
  • a few people may dominate while others hold their ideas back
  • there may be real confusion about the purpose of the decision-making conversation or whether the group is empowered to decide the issue under discussion
  • there may be no process in place to give the conversation structure, so the group engages in unstructured thrashing that's more emotional and subjective than it is factual and objective
  • frustration may cause group members to give up their quest for a solution and resort to voting or simply moving on to the next topic without closure

To ensure that you're always facilitating high-quality decision processes, become aware of the traits of effective decision making:

  • everyone is clear about the purpose of the decision-making conversation
  • the group knows the extent of its power to make the decision in question ...

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