Groupwork Centre Blog

A Snag In Collaborative Decision Making

At its best, Collaborative Decision Making is so 3D.  It’s about pooling ALL inputs and then together figuring out what’s best to do.

Yet a snag we can hit is precedent.  People’s contribution to Collaborative Decision Making can be held back because of precedent, that we should continue as we have been OR, if we make a particular decision, we will create a precedent that locks us into a position ‘for all time’.

I see precedent as a useful input. It can tell us the good and bad of what has been, or what may be ahead.  Yet too often I feel it is a rod for the back of good collaborative decisions.  It can bind us to what we have always done, or prevent us from doing what has never been done.

The nub of good Collaborative Decision Making is pooling and synthesising ALL input from ALL relevant participants.  This very much includes understanding the impact of past precedents, and the concerns about future precedents.

So here is the liberating thing … – to borrow from a particular fire proverb, precedent is a good servant but a poor master.  Extract the wisdom and costs of precedents, but do not be bound by it.

Collaborative Decision Making is such a liberating process. May your collaborative decisions become more 3D.

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