collaborative decision making

Collaborative Decision Making​

Dramatically increasing individual and interpersonal effectiveness through conscious attention on how people individually and collectively engage in problem-solving and decision-makin

The 9 elements in the model represent parts of an iterative practice. In well-crafted collaborative problem-solving and decision-making work, individuals and teams should visit all and revisit many of these elements.

While there is some logic to their order (left to right, and top to bottom) the decision-making practice is not a linear process and this ordering is not prescriptive; this is not a tick box exercise.

This tool is a diagnostic mnemonic to identify where you and your teams are in a problem-solving and decision-making process, and to identify what parts of the practice you may have missed or under-cooked.


1. Tension sensing:

Becoming aware that an important issue is emerging; this sensing uses your bodily sensations, emotional states, cognition, thinking, and intuition.

2. Source tracking:

Evaluating if an issue is related strongly enough to the purpose and intent of your team or organisation to merit continued problem solving and decision-making work. Is this decision the right work for you to be doing?

3. Decision making:

Employing an intentional process that is balanced between being flexible (to accommodate emerging facts) and structured (to provide procedural fairness). To begin with, this includes being explicit about ‘whose decision is this?’, why this decision sits with that role, how to identify and prioritise relevant variables and stakeholders, and being clear on the strategic goal and outcomes of the decision-making.

4. Perspective taking:

Identifying key stakeholders and imagining what their perspectives on the issue or decision might be. (Ref Stakeholder Mapping)

5. Perspective seeking:

Clarifying what all your identified stakeholders actually think and feel by asking them directly (in the case of individuals or small groups) or researching about them (in the case of institutions or large groups).
While this might be the most obvious approach it is in fact very rarely done.

6. Perspective coordinating:

Usually in one or a series of meetings, bringing together perspectives and viewpoints. Appreciating the limitations of your own perspective.
Deeply enquiring to understand the perspectives, thoughts, and feelings of other stakeholders and playing out the likely outcomes for different stakeholders and the consequent tensions in different decision scenarios.

7. Collaborative thinking:

Also, in that meeting or meetings, integrating others into your decision-making process, using communication strategies and skills, facilitating group processes, managing the politics and power-dynamics while addressing the substantive issues.
Making sure everyone is heard and feels heard, even if their perspective or wishes do not win out.

8. Systems thinking:

Identifying and mapping patterns, dynamics and interdependencies among different actors and stakeholders involved in the issue, including the nested and the neighbouring systems and stakeholders that have impact on and will be impacted by your decision.
Looking for possible unintended consequences.

9. Rationale explaining:

Stating your decision and receiving acknowledgement from others. Making a clear, coherent, and persuasive argument for why and how you made the decision you did.

We have developed this model from the ground-breaking adult development research of