These days, business decisions are complex and require expert knowledge and input from various internal parties.
Making group business decisions can be a tedious task. One person has one idea, someone else thinks that they have a better idea, then they argue over it, and nothing gets accomplished. If you work in a team environment, this may be a familiar problem.
This is where Consensus Oriented Decision Making comes in. Hartnett’s Consensus Oriented Decision Making model (also know as the CODM model) is a seven step process that facilitates group based decision making on a consensus basis.
Created by renowned psychologist Tim Hartnett in 2010, the CODM model is fast becoming a standard group decision making method. The CODM model encourages shared ownership of group decisions. The method can be used in any group situation, regardless of whether the final decision-making power rests with a single person or team, a vote of members, or unanimity.
These are the seven steps of the Consensus Oriented Decision Making model:
1. Frame the problem. Identify the problem, and ensure that the right people, information, resources and stake holders are involved. Finalize the process to ensure that everyone is on board.
2. Have an open discussion. Create an open discussion with everyone involved. Communicate the issues clearly. The goal here is to generate as many initial ideas or solutions to the problem as possible. Make sure that every idea and contribution is expressed in the discussion.
3. Identify underlying problems. Identify the stake holders who will be affected by this decision. Encourage group members to raise any further issues. You may even identify big potential issues that could put the process to a halt.
4. Collaborative proposal development. Go through the initial ideas that the group came up with in step 2 and develop proposals that address the problems identified in step 3. At the end of this step, you will have developed initial ideas into more-detailed proposals that you can take forward.
5. Choose a direction. Decide on the best proposal moving forward. Do this by going through each proposal and asking the group members to identify pros and cons for each proposal. Decide on the best proposal to take forward, using the "decision rule" that you agreed on in step 1.
6. Develop a preferred solution. The aim of this step it to develop and improve the final proposal further. As part of this, look back at the underlying concerns that you identified in step 3. If there are any concerns that you haven't addressed, look for ways in which you can improve the proposal.
7. Closing. If you followed the process, you should have a solution that most people in the group are in agreement with. To confirm this, use the "decision rule" that you identified in step 1 to ensure that there is still consensus to move forward with your decision.
Business, government, non-profit, social and community organizations can all benefit from Consensus-Oriented Decision-Making.