Decisions, decisions, we have to make them every day. Every time we make a decision, we make a choice about what and who we include in our decision-making. When we do that, do we always consider all the different options and perspectives? Do we ask different people for their thoughts, ideas and objections to a choice?

Or do we fall into including the people and choices we most agree with?

All of this has an impact on the people we work with. Whether or not someone feels included in a decision determines how likely they are to embrace a new direction or idea. It’s a crucial skill for leaders to learn, and for those progressing to leadership roles to work on.

What is the decision you need to make?

To consider how you make your decision, what is the thing you need to make a decision on and who does it impact? If it’s something that is going to affect a lot of people in some way, then that will tell you that you need to ask a lot of people for their thoughts.

So if you’re deciding what days you are all going to work, or what people will be paid next year, or perhaps what benefits you offer employees, then you need to consider carefully who will be impacted by the decision. And you might have experienced before, a decision made on something like this, which impacted you and you were not happy? What would have made it better?

Consider your decision, and then have a think about who might be impacted in some way about the choices that you could make. That will help you work out who needs to have a say in the decision.

Why do you need to include people?

If you want the decision you make to be accepted and understood by people, then you are going to have a better outcome if you include people and ask them what they think,

There’s tons of other benefits too:

  1. Creativity and Innovation: when you bring different people together who have different perspectives, guess what? They have new and different ideas. They might find a better way to do something or an impact you have not considered. Different perspectives challenge conventional thinking and inspire new ideas, leading to new and creative solutions.
  2. Problem-Solving: as well as new ideas, different people will consider complex problems in different ways. Have you ever got stuck with something, and then asked someone for their thoughts and they immediately see a new way of doing things? Consider different viewpoints and approaches and you might find that you can solve more problems.
  3. Employee Engagement: to engage your employees, what better way than asking people what they think about things? If you ask people, they feel involved, empowered and that they have a sense of ownership over what is going to happen. Employees who are asked are usually more engaged, more motivated and contribute their thoughts and ideas which leads to people feeling happier and that they belong.
  4. Managing Risks: asking different people for their thoughts and ideas can help you identify potential risks and also potential opportunities. Things that you might not have seen from your perspective. If you involve more people, you identify more potential risks which you can consider in how you make your decisions.
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How to include different people

How can you include different people when you are making decisions? There’s different things to think about and different methods you can use.

Diverse teams

Think about all of the people who could be impacted in some way by the decision you are going to make. How can you include as many different types of people as you can in your decision as well as get to a decision? Consider including a broad range of people, or perhaps just talking through your decision with some different people to get their thoughts.

Question and Listen

Ask questions, lots of them. The bigger the decision, the more you need to ask. So listen to what people tell you. Think about different ways you can ask people, perhaps meetings, individual conversations, surveys, polls and other feedback methods. And when you get some answers to those questions, listen to what people say.

Use data

As well as your own information gathering, use data you can find to help you too. What have other companies done? What have other leaders chosen to do? Is there research or other information available to help you? What have customers and partners said? Seek out data to help you understand.

Gather feedback

You might ask questions initially. Perhaps you engage with a lot of people early on. What do you do as you progress though? A crucial part of making a decision is whether you test it out. Ask people what they think, talk them through it, and then listen to what they say…and act on it.

Inclusive decision-making takes time, effort and practice. As well as constant evaluating to see how you can involve people better next time. What we see is that employees are looking for how they can get involved in decisions. We see companies moving to being employee-owned, or giving employees a say in some way. We see shadow boars, or even employee boards which the shareholder board might report back to on things.

For more thoughts and ideas on this, join us in our membership community The Sp_ce where we share thoughts and ideas with others on a similar journey.