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Steps in Decision-Making Conversations

These come from Craig Weber, and are described in his book Conversational Capacity (although I originally picked them up as part of a consulting engagement with Craig).

Think of these as steps to follow – especially for an organizational leader – when engaging in a potentially difficult conversation about some decision to be made, and action to be taken.

The goals of these four steps are to optimize leadership decisions by ensuring that all valid facts and perspectives are considered, as well as to ensure that all participants feel heard.

1. State Your Position

The leader starts by stating his or her current position on the issue at hand as clearly and objectively as possible.

2. Share Rationale for Position

The leader then openly offers insight into the information and analysis behind his or her position on the matter.

3. Ask for Other Views

The leader should then explicitly ask others for additional information, and alternative interpretations, by saying something like “What am I missing?” This should be more than a quick, token gesture, and should instead be a sincere inquiry undertaken with at least a tacit recognition of the leader’s fallibility.

4. Inquiry and Exploration

The leader should then follow up the previous step with additional questions to further delve into the facts and analysis behind alternative positions identified in the previous step.

Next: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist