Clarify How Decisions Are Made

How Decisions Are MadeI recently read a book called Crucial Conversations. In the chapter called “Move to Action,” the authors describe four methods for decision-making.


Also known as the “executive decision.”

This is when an authority or delegate makes a unilateral decision. This is appropriate when the decision must be driven primarily by the executive’s unique insight into the business environment, context or constraints. The decision might be driven primarily by legal constraints or political or market dynamics. This is a highly efficient, but less inclusive option.


This is when decision makers invite others to influence them before making their choice. Consultation allows decision-makers to gain input, opinions, and support without bogging down the process in too much decision-making. You might do this by letting the crowd comment, vote, and assess ideas before sending ideas to authorities for a final decision.

Vote or Pledge

You might use this option when efficiency is important and you are facing a number of good options. Don’t want to waste time discussing to no end. Present the options to the decision-makers, ask for a simple vote and move along to implementation. Only use this when everyone is comfortable accepting the outcome of the vote.


In this case, you allow the decision-makers to discuss or comment until everyone honestly and fully agrees. This method can result in tremendous unity and quality decisions or it can be a horrible waste of time. Only use for this method for high-stakes or complex decisions when everyone must support the final choice.

As you can see, these options come with trade-offs – with increased involvement you gain increased commitment, but decreased efficiency. If you’re not sure which method will work for you, you can set up a consultation with an IdeaScale Innovation Architect for personalized guidance.

The take-home message here is to clarify how the decision will be made ahead of time and to communicate that to those participating in your process. This is the key to avoiding one of the common pitfalls – violated expectations.

This blog post is part of a series authored by IdeaScale employees. It showcases how they’re thinking about crowdsourcing and innovation as part of their daily routine. Feel free to ask questions or make comments.

This post is by Whitney Bernstein, Innovation Strategist at IdeaScale

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