By Bob Frisch

The trouble with cross-functional team decision making is the process itself. To improve their teams’ decision-making processes, leaders must first acknowledge that decision making is problematic because each member has constituencies in the organization they are vying for. Leaders can improve the decision-making process by:

*Clearly articulating the outcome. When the outcome the team wants to collectively accomplish is unclear, individual members can choose options based on unspoken assumptions.

*Providing a range of options for achieving outcomes. Leaders must ensure that there is a broader range of options beyond “accept the proposed plan,” “reject the proposed plan,” and “defer the decision.”

*Testing fences and walls. When team members encounter a presumed boundary, they must take the time to determine if it is an immovable “wall” or a “fence” that can be moved.

*Surfacing preferences early. To focus a discussion, leaders must survey team members before meetings and identify their preferences.

*Stating each other’s pros and cons. Leaders should make sure both sides of every option are thoroughly voiced. This often requires assigning a devil’s advocate to make counterarguments and depersonalize the discussion.

*Devising new options that preserve the best features of existing ones. If a team has reached an impasse, it is often necessary for it to reframe its options in a way that preserves the original intent.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. In this digital age, with the organizations having advance analytical technologies, sometimes, the personal connect may get amiss. Team building relationships exercises play a major role in decision making for a varied set of people in different teams. Also, it becomes easier for the decision maker in case all the team members even if from different function groups are held accountable and simple standard operating practices are clearly defined at the very start of any cross functional project.


  2. Harshita says:

    Decision making is very important professionally and personally and by following these steps possiblility of correct output will increase


  3. Mridula Ghai says:

    As rightly said by the author, leader has to take the responsibility to own up the scenario and put the intent of the team forward by taking everyone’s point of view along with range of options to take the decision from. A leader has to showcase the vision to the team by considering the new alternatives and keeping the existing intent intact. Getting to know the team member’s interest in advance is always a positive point so that solutions alternatives’ range can be widen up.


  4. Ankit Vishnoi says:

    Very good article on decision making by leaders. my understanding on decision making is while taking any decision either professional or personal we have to write down the consequences of our decision and after analysis of the same we must take the right one and own the 100% responsibility of the same. I believe it always works. Thank you very much.


  5. Naresh Kumar says:

    Good Article. But Leaders should also have an close relationship with the TEAM. He should also think that he is part of the TEAM . Also he should be able to explain the reason for the Rejection of Plan to TEAM so that each one should understand the scenario and must be a chance for the team to correct their ideas.


  6. Dr Mohan Lal says:



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