Airbus Leadership University

Collective Decision making: Let's check resistance !

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Objective is to support a group which needs to prioritize and/or decide among various available solutions



Output is at least a map of team resistance according to various possible options and potentially a decision on way forward / selected option.




    This method supports teams in prioritizing and deciding by checking the level of resistance each team member has regarding each proposed alternative. 

    Also called "range consensing", it uses the concept of the "3 decision zones", described slide 1  attached presentation, and which states that each of us, when confronted to a decision, navigates between 3 areas from the most comfortable "personal preference" to the least one "Objection", the middle one being "Range of tolerance".

    In below method, each person is invited to explore how he feels respect to each proposed alternative but through a more detailed scale, from 0 to 10:

    - 0 corresponding to the "complete approval" of the proposal = heart of the "personal preference" zone

    - 10 corresponding to the "firm objection" on the proposal = external part of the "objection" zone

    Pre-requisite: team has already worked out, through a divergence-emergence sequence like brainstorm, ideation process a number of potential solutions to a raised concern or opportunity.

    1. Facilitator writes on the flipchart in column the different available solutions (in the attached example slide 2, they are candidates for a job application). He writes in rows each team member first name.

    2. Facilitator exposes the rule: each team member will have to complete his full row attributing a number of resistance points from 0 to 10 according to his level of resistance towards the implementation of the suggested solution. No issue in using same number in different columns (= "those proposal are equal to me"), it is not an individual priorization exercice. No blank allowed (if I do not care much about a solution, it means I do not have resistance hence something rather low in resistance points).

    3. Each team member fills in his own row

    4. Facilitator does the maths summing up all notes in a given row and indicating overall team

    5. Priorization or decision time

    Option A: no decision is needed. Team benefits now from a priority order (and gaps) through the lens of team member resistance

    Option B: decision made by the maths. Pro: quick. Cons: does not enable to team members to express some why behind some notes. It also does not enable, for example, to explore high scores that express strong discomfort or even objection by team members. Advice: use option B when the less resistance option does not feature notes over 7, like in attached example.

    Option C: select the option which features less resistance and organize a discussion around individual high marks or, in case of strong objections (over 6 or 7), run a consent decision making process starting at step 5 of this specific process). Advice: can be useful as well to organize a discussion when various options end up with very similar marks so that some collective intelligence enables a clever selection. Pro: more collective intelligence and takes into account individual objection. Con: longer.


    - Remote conditions: this sequence works well in remote as template can be made available through digital format (Excel or better GSheets as everyone can fill it in at the same time) and maths are then made automatically.

    - This method enables to have both a global trend regarding team choice while having personal expression included. Saves time respect to a "full" consent decision making method like the one referenced above (link to other sequence of the app).

    - Slide 4 is a bonus for facilitator to understand the method benefit and that can be exposed/ explained to participants according to facilitator's comfort on the concept. It shows that majority voting (another method to prioritize or decide) can lead to a different result. The simulation shows here, that there is a high level of resistance towards candidate #2, although this candidate won the majority of the votes. The reason for this is that Hans, Daniel and Mike seem to have severe problems with the idea of working together with candidate #2 and have therefore expressed a high resistance. Would the team have made the decision based on the majority voting, it would have been highly probable that conflicts would occur in the daily business life. With candidate #5 there is a very low level of resistance associated, although this candidate did not receive any vote in the majority voting. However majority voting is usually faster.

    -> whatever the decision method, biases are hidden somewhere, best is to know them and make them explicit.

    - This method is powerful as it relies on Contra voting (by contrast with pro voting, which majority voting belongs to). It usually fosters more collaboration as it is more difficult for someone to "be against" and stop team momentum which triggers in us more introspection before raising a mark or remark, while pro voting (defending MY best choice) triggers usually competition and exagerated argumentation.


    Thanks to Airbus Helicopters Germany for this methodology and example kept as is ("Kandidat") ;)

    Attention: practice required! May be awkward the first time you try this sequence but practice makes perfect :)  

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