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  • Writer's pictureAJ Cheponis

The Secret to Smarter, Faster Team Decisions: Trust and Behavioral Awareness

If you're part of a team, you've likely encountered the challenge of making effective decisions together. It's not an easy task, and it's one that requires a foundation of trust and awareness to be successful. In this article, we'll explore the common traits of teams that make good decisions and provide practical advice for enhancing your team's decision-making process.

How do you define good decision-making in a team? It's a broad question that requires more analysis. What are the metrics that you use to measure the success of your team's decision-making process? Did you mix and match personnel to get the results you wanted? In most cases, efficient decision-making doesn't happen overnight. Instead, it requires an understanding of your team's dynamics and an awareness of your Team Type.

Teams that consistently make good decisions share three common traits:

  1. A foundation of trust and awareness

  2. Clarity around roles and decision-making authority

  3. An understanding of behavioral data

Let's take a closer look at each of these traits and explore how you can cultivate them in your own team.

A Foundation of Trust and Awareness

Trust is a cornerstone of any high-performing team. Without trust, team members may be hesitant to share their ideas, and conflict resolution can become difficult. Teams that assume good intentions, even when there's disagreement, are better positioned to make effective decisions. This is because trust and autonomy are granted, even amid disagreements.

However, what makes a team even better is an understanding of its identity and how that identity can impact its collective decision-making. Each team has a Team Type that can influence how they make decisions. For example, an Exploring Team may be risk-tolerant and naturally inclined to make quick decisions. This team may have members with high dominance drives and lower formality drives, which can be a boon to innovation. However, this type of decision-making may not be suitable for a more regulated field, where the outcome of risks can have a more significant impact. It's crucial to understand the risk boundaries and operate within them to learn from mistakes without making dangerous decisions that could harm the business.

Self-awareness is key to understanding your Team Type and aligning it with your strategy. It means recognizing the boundaries of your strategy and adjusting your decision-making style accordingly.

Clarity Around Roles and Decision-Making Authority

A trusting team fosters autonomy for its members. Everyone has the authority to make certain decisions, regardless of hierarchy, because of that trust. However, it's still essential to determine the "what" and the "when" around that authority. This is where a responsibility assignment matrix (RACI) can be helpful.

A RACI chart is a simple tool that maps out four columns: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. You can assign team members to each column according to their responsibilities for a particular initiative or project. The people who are responsible will carry out certain tasks, while those who are accountable have the authority to make decisions or veto others. Using a RACI chart helps clarify roles, enable a more efficient process, and foster leadership at all levels.

Understanding Behavioral Data

Effective decision-making is influenced by the behavioral drives of team members. Some people's working styles are more hard-wired than others, which impacts their desire to influence decisions. More dominant employees tend to be more intent on seeing their ideas carried out, while more collaborative decision-makers may be more willing to accept someone else's decision if it is in the best interest of the team.

Teams are not all the same. Find out how you can understand your team’s unique dynamics and how to create teams that crush their goals.

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