Joe listened as his team discussed the merits of the two approaches to solving the problem. He listened to his team discuss the merits of each approach to solving the problem. It became clearer that they would need assistance in making a decision. Both approaches were valid, he knew that everyone was qualified to weigh-in and he didn’t need to make the final decision.
The team had spent a lot of time researching and brainstorming solutions. One of their top priority customers had discovered a bug in their software. It was not affecting any other customers, which was the good news. It was causing problems for one customer every day. They were now doing some of their work manually. Joe’s company paid for two temporary workers to do the manual processing. Although the customer appreciated the assistance, he was eager for a permanent solution.
The team had now come up with two possible solutions. Both solutions were equally likely to succeed, none of them would disrupt current processing, and they both required the same amount time and effort. Despite similarities between the solutions, there were enough differences in the way they approached the problem for team members to disagree on the best solution.
Joe intervened and informed the team that they would vote based on this information. If a clear majority was found, this would be the approach they would use. The team agreed.
Joe asked his team to take a 30-minute break. He pondered how to move forward following the vote. He didn’t want to continue with an ‘us against them’ mentality. Joe created a simple voting system. He divided the approaches into ‘Solution A and ‘Solution B’. He didn’t want to personalize the vote by adding the names and addresses of team members to it. This was about choosing the right solution and not about who designed it. Each solution had enough detail to let everyone know where he or she was voting. He knew he could quickly collect and tabulate votes but he planned a team coffee break after the vote. He was able to find some short videos that were entertaining and informative to show during the break.
Joe also carefully considered the solution implementation team. He made a risky decision when he realized that ‘Solution A had received the most votes. He decided to put the person who was most supportive of ‘Solution A’ on the team responsible for the solution implementation. He carefully populated the team with approximately half of those who preferred ‘Solution A, and half who preferred ‘Solution B. The first task was to create a strategy for implementation and present it to the team. Every member of the solution implementation team had to present a portion of the strategy.
Joe was so focused on the decision-making process. He had a highly-performing team. This team worked well together and achieved challenging goals. This was a team that could disagree and then laugh. The team felt more passionate about the issue. The division seemed deeper than in any of their previous disagreements. Joe understood the importance of rebuilding the group after a disagreement. He knew that if they wanted to keep their strength, they needed to see each other as partners and no longer as rivals. Joe wanted his team to be happy and free from strife, so they could support each other and meet the challenges ahead.