October 24, 2014

Making Decisions in Partnership

Not all decisions are made by consensus. The appropriate degree of involvement in a decision depends on the level of interest and/or expertise related to the issue at hand and can never be determined unilaterally. Don't make assumptions about your partner's level of interest is. Have a discussion and then jointly determine the appropriate level of decision making.

The levels of involvement can range from being informed about a decision, to providing input or being consulted about a decision, to having the decision made by consensus.
Teams should strive for consensus, but should also be able to recognize when consensus is not appropriate or feasible. Sponsors can help team co-leads guide their team into using the appropriate level of involvement for the decision at hand.

At the work unit level, nearly all day-to-day decisions will be of some level of interest to team members โ€“ and team members will have ideas as to how we can work smarter and better for our members/patients. For this reason, employees should be engaged in all workplace decisions that affect their work environment.

Keeping these eight factors in mind will help you and your team make decisions in partnership:

  • Openly and frequently share information.
  • Never assume what your partner's interest level is โ€“ always ask!
  • Jointly choose a level of involvement up front, based on the level of interest and/or expertise of your partner.
  • As your relationship matures and trust deepens, joint decision making becomes easier.
  • Exercise sound judgment โ€“ be sensitive to time constraints in urgent matters.
  • Be cautious about spending too much time on frivolous or insignificant matters.
  • In the absence of a joint decision, either party can make a decision and/or take action.
  • Before making a unilateral decision, consider the impact of that decision on the relationship.

For an easy-to-print version of the information on this page, download the Making Decisions in Partnership tool.