Home My Blog Management Seven Decision Making Models –
What’s Your Style?

Seven Decision Making Models –
What’s Your Style?

Author: Larry Chester, President

The most frequent activity in any business is Decision Making. Most of those decisions we don’t even consider decisions, because the answers come so naturally. We don’t truly “decide,” we just “do.”

But when it comes to decisions in your business, what process, what model do you usually follow? Some approaches to decision making involve others on your team. Some involve your just “deciding.” But in any case, you need to get the facts and consider the alternatives. When you do that, you have a basis and a path that you’ve followed to get to your end point. Here are seven ways of getting there:

  • Rabbinic Discourse – A discussion between equals. The intent is for each participant to raise issues that might weaken others’ arguments, thereby strengthening yours. It is a competitive discussion, but the result may have no clear winner.
  • Socratic Discussion – The participants ask and answer questions as a means of finding out greater truths which lead to a better decision. Usually the discussion is back and forth, between Teacher and students, or Manager and employees.
  • Devil’s Advocate – The person taking the Devil’s Advocate (or negative) role, challenges the conclusions of the group. Their role is to poke holes in any decision, raising issues that others might not have thought about. This results in solid alternatives to any decision. Everyone needs a Plan B.
  • Autocratic – The boss decides. There is a greater risk of others not buying in to the decision which means that there may need to be more work done on the back end, convincing others that the decision was the best one.
  • Consultative – The committee provides input, but the boss decides. The leader uses the expertise of his/her team to gather information allowing an educated decision to be made.
  • Democratic – The committee discusses the topic, and then takes a vote to determine what they view as the best alternative. Allows narrowing of many alternatives. One person, one vote.
  • Consensus – Results in high quality input and commitment of the group. The entire group understands the issues and shares opinions openly to get to universal agreement.

Each of these styles is applicable in different situations. How much time do you have? How many people are involved? Is buy-in needed from the group? The point is to actively decide which model will provide the best outcome for your current situation.


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