The best way to learn effective decision-making skills to make decisions. To make the learning stick, we use this debriefing activity immediately after a group of people make a significant decision.
Three teams of participants rotate around flip charts to write and post decision-making activities to start, stop, or sustain. At the end of the activity, the participants narrow down their ideas to a single item and use it to evaluate their performance.
To recall and generate decision-making activities and analyze them for future use.
- Minimum: 6
- Maximum: 30
- Best: 9 to 21
20 to 30 minutes
Remind the participants of the decision. Briefly recall the prior decision and the process used for reaching it. Ask the participants to think about the process and the final decision.
Recall the three categories of decision-making activities. Ask the participants to recollect different activities during the earlier decision-making process. Also ask them to think of activities they wish they had used. Instruct them to classify the activities into these three categories:
- Start doing this activity (which was done before) because it will produce high-quality decisions.
- Stop doing this activity because it was just a waste of time.
- Sustain doing this activity because it added value to the decision.
Organize the participants into three teams. Divide the participants into three teams of two to five participants each. (It does not matter if a team has one fewer member than the others.) Ask the members of each team introduce themselves to the others.
Post the first set of activities. Set up three flip charts with the labels Start, Stop, and Sustain. Ask each team to stand around one of the flip charts. Provide each team with a packet of sticky notes. Ask the team members to write different decision-making activities that belongs to the label on the flip chart on the sticky notes. Ask the teams to post the stick-note statements on the flip chart. Announce a 3-minute time limit.
Post the second set of activities. Blow the whistle at the end of 3 minutes. Rotate the teams to the next flip chart. Ask the team members to review the sticky-note statements posted on the flip chart. Next, ask them to write and post appropriate statements that belong to the label on the flip chart. As before, assign a 3-minute time limit.
Post the third set of activities. Blow the whistle at the end of 3 minutes and rotate the teams to the next flip chart. Ask the team members to review the sticky-note statements and write appropriate additional statements that belong to the category. As before, assign a 3-minute time limit.
Select the top three activities in a category. Rotate the teams the next flip chart. This will be the flip chart the teams started with. Ask the team members to study the activities, discuss them, and identify the three most important activities (to be started, stopped, or sustained). Instruct the team members to post the top three activities to a new blank flip-chart page. Announce a 3-minute time limit.
Review the top activities. Ask the participants to walk around the three flip charts and study the selected activities.
Select the most important activity. Ask the teams to select the most important activity among the nine posted statements on the three flip charts. This activity should be the most important one that would improve the quality of future decisions. After a suitable pause, ask each team to announce its selection.
Evaluate the team’s performance. Point out that the current activity also involved making a decision (about the most important activity). Ask the members of each team to rate their behavior using a 5-point scale related to the most important activity they selected in the previous step. After a suitable pause, ask each team to present and explain the rating it awarded to itself.