So often the decision-making process in the workplace can be difficult to navigate. Sometimes it’s due to simply not knowing whether the decision is made democratically or by a single person. Regardless, to make sound decisions it’s important to embrace debate among all the stakeholders able to contribute.
Leaders who practice debate in decision making not only help lead to better outcomes, but also more fully engage employees and maximize their potential.
In her book, Multipliers: How the best leaders make everyone smarter, author Liz Wiseman describes Multipliers as those who “use intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of people around them. They inspire employees to stretch themselves to deliver results that surpass expectations.”
Wiseman further defines Talent Magnets as those who attract talented people and use them to their fullest capacity. Unlike Empire Builders, who she describes as those who hoard resources and underutilize talent, Talent Magnets enable people to work at their highest point of contribution. These Multipliers attract the best talent because people flock to work for them.
Multipliers are those who have the right people to assist in making tough decisions, and it is therefore incumbent upon them to engage this talent in the decision-making process.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do,” wrote Steve Jobs in Steve Jobs: His Own Words and Wisdom. “We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
To practice effective debate making with your team, Wiseman describes three practices to reach sound decisions that fully engage people. These are:
- Frame the Issue
- The question: What is the decision to be made?
- The why: Why is this an important questions to answer?
- The who: Who will be involved in making the decision?
- The how: How will the final decision be made?
- Spark the Debate
- Engaging – Ask a provocative question to get everyone involved
- Comprehension – Seek assurance that everyone understands what’s at stake
- Fact based – Opinions are not wrong, but facts should carry more weight
- Educational – Encourage learning throughout the process
- Drive a Sound Decision
- Reclarify the decision-making process
- Make the decision
- Communicate the decision and the rationale for it
This debate making process will lead to better outcomes no matter who and how the decision is ultimately made. It also has the added benefit of fully engaging employees and optimizing their talent and expertise, so they feel more valued and appreciated.
Make sound decisions by framing the issue and sparking the debate so that your organization and people continue to thrive.