Decision-making meeting

How to go from brainstorming to deciding in a flow that works.

Created by Deborah Rim Moiso – SessionLab


When should this session be delivered?

This half-day session illustrates a complete flow from ideation to decision. You will find information and details on the following steps:

  • presenting a challenge to a team;
  • ideating multiple solutions (divergence);
  • selecting one or more proposals to work on using dot-voting (convergence);
  • using consent-based decision-making to refine the proposal;
  • turning the proposal into a shared decision;
  • celebrating! 

Gerard Endenburg, the founder of Sociocracy (an organizational framework based on consent) defined three requirements for a group to be able to use consent as its decision-making mechanism:

  1. The group is able and willing to discuss together long enough to resolve objections;
  2. The group shares a common aim;
  3. Defined membership (knowing who is part of the group and who is not).

Consent-based decisions require training and effort on the part of all the people involved and are therefore most often used either in organizations designed for equality and/or for decisions of high importance.

Examples of contexts where this flow could be useful include setting visions and values for a company, and strategic decisions.

The first section, going from brainstorming to narrowing down options, is common also to consultations, in which after this process it’s up to a person in charge to decide. 

Timings in this template are based on experience facilitating a small, cohesive group with some experience deciding together. Decision-making by consent can get very fast and efficient indeed but might take some more time at first, or with larger groups.

You might consider adding more time to rounds designed to clarify and amend the proposal or divide the process into two 2-hour sessions, one for consultation and one for decision-making.

You can also consider the option of runnings parts of this session asynchronously as a written consultation (on a shared document or virtual whiteboard, for example), and of separating the meeting into two different days, one for the consultation process and one for decision-making.

You can also factor some part of this process into regular team meetings such as those featured in this collection of meeting agenda templates.

Who can facilitate it?

The scripts for consent-based decision-making are quite clear and well illustrated in a lot of dissemination material connected to Sociocracy (and Holacracy as well, a related management framework). Any facilitator should be able to pick them up quite easily but do consider decades of R&D have gone into perfecting them, so try them as they are before tweaking and making changes!

The website Sociocracy for All is packed with useful materials, and for a more in depth study look for the book Many Voices One Song.

Check out the template details including step-by-step plan with instructions, timings, printable schedule and more

About the author

Deborah Rim Moiso

Deborah Rim Moiso is an Endorsed Facilitator with the IAF – International Association of Facilitators and the current co-chair of the Italian IAF Chapter. She is also a content writer for SessionLab and a published author of a manual and deck of cards on facilitation available in Italian (Facilitiamoci! Prendersi cura di gruppi e comunità). Her experience with consent-based decision-making comes mainly from work with the Transition Network, and co-facilitating with Pierre Houben from Sociocracy for All.

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