Decision-making is a key task of any executive team. It can easily consume one-third or more of senior executives’ time. Yet, in a recent McKinsey survey, over 60% of executives said that most of their decision-making time is used ineffectively.

The truth is that in most organisations very little – if any – effort is made to articulate, review or improve the speed and quality of its decision-making processes. In fact, if you were to ask most managers how decisions are made, they are very likely to struggle to provide a clear or consistent response.

With that in mind, let me give you one tool that you can use in any setting to improve decision-making. Rather than simply looking for Yes/No responses to a proposal, ask for people’s ‘Scale of Agreement’.

I use a flipchart with a scaled line from 0% (totally unsupportive) to 100% (totally supportive) and ask executives to mark where they currently stand on the issue. If everyone is close to 100% (or 0%), you can rapidly make the decision and move onto other issues.

Alternatively, if the views of your group’s members differ or are closer to the 50% level of support, you can ask each person (1) why they’ve given that score and (2) what changes and actions it would take to get closer to 100% support. That way, you will quickly unearth people’s reservations and identify the actions needed to get to a ‘Yes’.

You will also find that by asking for everyone’s views, people will feel heard and their satisfaction with the team dynamics and interpersonal relationships will improve.

So, on a scale of 0% to 100%, how useful could the ‘Scale of Agreement’ tool be in improving the decision-making speed and effectiveness of your team?

Off The Record: You Will You Won’t by The Zutons

You will, you won’t

You do, you don’t

You’re saying you will

But you know you won’t

You may, you might

Your chest gets tight

You say you love day

But you come out at night

Getting Your Innovation Strategy Right

Business leaders are constantly exhorted to innovate. But what kind of innovation should managers pursue? The Innovation Strategy Matrix helps you to answer that question and get your innovation strategy right.