Absolutes and Desirables

“Okay, so if I am to be accountable for the decision, I should make the decision. I get that.” Victor was still struggling to make sure he was sincerely including his team on major decisions. “But I can’t just pay lip service to team participation. That is why I had them vote in the first place.”

“Is voting the best way to make a decision?” I asked. Victor looked puzzled. I continued. “Look, you want people to truly participate in the process even though you will make the final decision. Here is what I want you to try.

“Take a flipchart and draw a vertical line down the middle. Label the left column Absolutes and label the right column Desirables. Now, ask your team to help you fill out the chart.

“For Absolutes, ask what absolutely has to happen as a result of this decision? What are the non-negotiable criteria that we have to consider when making this decision?

“For Desirables, ask what would we like to happen as a result of this decision? What are the outcomes that would be nice, that we should consider when making this decision? And which of these desirable outcomes are the most important? Have your team prioritize these.

“Victor, if you go through an analysis like this, your decision will make a lot more sense than voting. It will be based on a logical process, in which your team actively participates. This is not lip service. This is real.” -TF

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