Team building through accelerated consensus building

Abstract

Keeping the whole team involved in project decisions is the art of pulling information from the timid while controlling overbearing personalities. When the team is brought together to make a decision, that decision should be for the good of the project. This paper shows how to bring your team to consensus quickly and effectively so that all personality types are contributing to their potential. Decisions made by the team for the good of the project are the best decisions.

Introduction

Nothing brings the team to a dead stop like fighting over a decision. Team members try to voice their opinions but louder team members steamroll them and eventually weaker members give up. Hidden agendas are purported to be for the ‘good of the project.’ The ‘Know It All’ pouts and then of course the ‘I Told You So’ smugly crosses his arms and smirks. The decision, if there is one, may not be made in the best interest of the project. The team is demoralized and leaves the room thinking ‘Things will never change.’ You can change the way you and your team makes decisions thereby building a better and more efficient team.

Simulation Setup

Each table is a vacation club. You and your members must decide on where to go on vacation next June. You all have different interests so you need to be considerate but also aggressive. During the simulation you will be identifying:

  • Your vacation needs (identifying project needs)
  • Your physical limitations (identifying project constraints)
  • Which week is best for you (identifying project timeline)
  • Risks that might impact the vacation (project risks)
  • What you're willing to pay (project cost)
  • How long you want the vacation to be (project or task length)
  • Who will be in charge of what piece of the vacation (project roles and responsibilities)
  • Other items as deemed necessary by the team

Notice that even though this is a simulation about vacation planning, it works right into a project and all the elements that affect project decisions.

Playing Out the Simulation

The following steps will guide us through the decision making process.

  1. State the problem “Where should the club go on vacation next June?”
  2. Survey the club members using the Cheetah Learning “Brain on the Wall” technique
  3. Group like responses and order in a manner appropriate to the team
  4. Review each group and either come to consensus or have “To Do's”
  5. Create a responsibility assignment matrix
  6. Schedule next meeting

The techniques learned above can be applied to many project team situations allowing for every team member to be part of the decision making process. The project manager must be able to facilitate this meeting and get buy-in from the team to make the most effective use of these techniques.

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