Collaborative Decision Making


Hi, everybody. I’m Mike Staver. This is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you. This is one of those short questions that I think is going to be kind of challenging.

“I try to be collaborative, but sometimes I run out of patience and just want to make the decision. When is that a good idea and when is it a bad idea?”

I’m assuming that what you’re saying is, when is just making the decision a good idea or just a bad idea.

We’ve done Mondays with Mike on something similar, previously. Let me give you a very quick 32nd lesson, and then I’ll answer your question directly. There’s something called “the paradox principle.” The paradox principle says we’re constantly living on the horns of a paradox, two seemingly contradictory ideas that have to work together. When you look at those two seemingly contradictory ideas or concepts, they’re actually synergistic. They actually can work together, hot and cold is an example.

The heating and air conditioning system here in the studio works on the principle of hot air and cold air, and it blends it. We were just talking before we started shooting today that the hot air and cold air is blended less efficiently in some areas of the studio than others. This is the way it goes. When you walk in your house, you adjust the thermostat so the hot and cold works together.

What you’re talking about right here, the question that you asked very wisely is, you’re asking about a paradox. You’re asking about the paradox of collaboration versus authoritative decision-making. Authoritative decision-making is when you say, “I’m going to make this decision.” Collaboration is working with a group of people to make the decision. Both of those can work together.

Your specific question is, when is it a good idea to make the decision yourself, not when you run out of patience, that’s an emotional charge to make the decision, and not a rational one.

The rational way that you decide that it’s time to extract it, where collaboration is no longer effective, is to set a deadline. We’re going to talk about this for the next 7 minutes, the next 10 minutes, and when we get to the end of that 10 minutes, we’re going to make a decision.

If the decision cannot be made collectively, I will make the decision. You see how you pave the runway? You want to collaborate, but as the leader, what you want to do is say, “Let’s talk about this for the next 10 minutes. I’d like us to come to a consensus. I’d like us to make a group decision. If we can’t come to a consensus, then I’m going to exercise my authority and make the decision myself.”

That way everybody knows, not only that, the majority of the people in that meeting are going to be thrilled that you took charge. Now, if you just run out of patience, it’s a bad idea, because people will feel it, people will feel you’ve rushed it, and that won’t be a good thing. In the beginning, I want us to talk about the decision on hiring Johnny, having a live meeting, doing whatever it is that you’re making the decision.

I’d like us to collaborate and come to a group decision. If we can’t do that, I’ll make the decision. I’d like to spend 15 minutes at the most discussing it. I think if you do that, you’ll be effective. That’s Mondays with Mike this week. I hope that was helpful to you.

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