Collaborative Decision-making Training Info

Good collaborative decision-making requires great facilitation.  The process we have developed works very well – it has been road-tested many times for more than three decades. It is facilitation skills that bring this good process to life.  So day one of our training focuses on self-awareness and the facilitation skills participants will need to become competent facilitators of collaborative decision making.

We work with you to ensure our experiential training meets the learning needs of your team.

Training outline


Workplace training start times can be between 9.00am and 9.30am and finish times can be between 4.30 and 5.00pm, or as negotiated.

Day One

  • Welcome and introductions
  • Agenda and agreements
  • Participants’ decision-making experiences and learning needs
  • What is facilitation? Role of the facilitator
  • Groupwork Institute facilitation model

Morning Tea

  • Facilitation principles
  • Facilitation micro-skills – input and practice using participants’ learning needs


  • Work on learning needs using skills learned

Afternoon Tea

  • Group dynamics
  • Managing ourselves in groups
  • Reflection on the day’s learnings
  • Evaluation of day one
  • Focus for day two

Day two

  • Reflection from day one
  • What is collaborative decision-making (CDM)?
  • Decision-making spectrum and the decision-making wedge
  • Why use collaborative decision-making?
  • Principles of collaborative decision-making.
  • Role theory
  • Relevant micro-skills
  • Ingredients of CDM – neutrality, compassion, humour, etc

Morning tea

  • Collaborative decision-making in bite size.  Using micro-skills in small groups with real life examples
  • Large group reflection.


  • Group practice – collaborative decision-making using the CDM map.
  • Large group unpacks learning.

Afternoon tea

  • Reflection
  • What participants will do differently
  • Evaluation

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Training content – Conflict to Collaboration

This two day collaborative decision-making training is a balance between Groupwork Institute input, and a focus on people’s particular learning needs and workplace challenges.

The finer details of the content can be negotiated prior to, and at the beginning of the workshop.

Specific input draws from the following areas:

Understanding ourselves in groups

The more we understand our own inner ‘selves’ and their interplay, the better facilitators we will be. First facilitate thyself! Come prepared to know (and accept) yourself better! This will entail:

  • getting to know ourselves through use of the Community of Selves model
  • getting to know and working on the fears and other self-limiting messages that hold us back as group facilitators
  • developing the emotional resilience to manage our own reactions when faced with  challenging group dynamics.

Decision Making Context

It is very useful to understand collaborative decision-making within the real world context of how decisions are often made:

  • decision making spectrum
  • decision making wedge
  • decision making ready reckoner
  • why use collaborative decision-making?
  • role theory

Essentials of collaborative decision-making

Facilitation practice needs to have a strong, collaborative value base.  As facilitators we need to be clear about our approach. We will look at:

  • the central values and principles of collaboration decision-making
  • using our principles to plan with flexibility
  • the role of the facilitator
  • ingredients needed to bring collaborative decision-making to life

Facilitation micro-skills for collaborative decision-making

There are a range of facilitation micro-skills essential to effective collaborative decision-making. It is these micro-skills that bring collaborative decision-making to life. Some of these skills will be familiar to you, some will be new. In this training, we will introduce a number of micro-skills. For example:

  • noticing and naming
  • normalising
  • validating
  • helping people hear each other
  • facilitatory leadership
  • balancing participation
  • pooling and synthesising group wisdom
  • welcoming difference – facilitating strongly held differing views
  • naming ghosts
  • clarifying and summarising

Gathering and pooling the wisdom of the group

Often as facilitators we are so focused on getting through our agenda, we miss opportunities to incorporate the wisdom of the group.  We know that people learn best from their own insights and validation of what they already know.  However, this is easier said than done.  Particularly in the experiential aspect of this training we will look at:

  • starting with wisdom from the group and building from this
  • hearing and synthesising peoples’ ideas
  • gathering wisdom from all in the group
  • relating workshop content to people’s experiences
  • getting ownership of content
  • facilitating vibrant discussion
  • encouraging and working with difference
  • understanding how our own rank affects our facilitation
  • working with significant differences in rank with the group

The GIA collaborative decision-making model

Effective collaborative decision-making requires the consistent use of a robust process. Groupwork Institute’s collaborative decision-making model provides a clear process that ensures all of the key ingredients for collaborative decision-making are considered.

Dealing with ‘hot spots’

Collaborative decision-making needs to welcome in all of people’s ideas, experiences and feelings. This means that sometimes we have to deal with the tricky end of collaborative decision making:

  • strong expression of feelings
  • strong disagreement
  • dominant voices
  • frustration with the process – ‘let’s just get on with it’

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Capacity to undertake this training

We have been providing independent facilitation services since 1984, and have been training facilitators since 1998. In 2001 we first offered the yearlong Advanced Diploma of Group Facilitation, the first of its kind in the world.

This training draws from:

  • Our own Model of Collaborative Decision Making which has evolved from our experience of offering facilitation services since 1984.
  • We see facilitation as always fostering collaboration. Accordingly, all our work centres around pooling and synthesising the various ideas, experiences and feelings in the groups and organisations we work with. This can be around big and small topics. Even in conflict resolution work, once we have cleared the conflict, we need to help participants to find a way forward together, i.e to reach a collaborative decision and agreement on what happens next. Thus all our work is geared around facilitating participants to make good decisions together. It is at the core of our work.
  • The Collaborative Decision Making unit we have developed in the Advanced Diploma of Group Facilitation. This Advanced Diploma is approved by the Australian Skills Quality Authority – Course Code 10386NAT – as the world’s first nationally accredited facilitation qualification.

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