Today we talk about how writing down your ideas and potential decisions and how gathering organized feedback can help you make better decisions for your business.
The post meant for anyone who is interested in making better decisions and are challenge with trying to involving a large group in a decision making process and might be struggling to organize large amounts of feedback and reaching consensus within the group. So you might be :
- Writing a document for a new company policy
- Preparing a rebranding proposal for a large company
- Deciding on future paths to take in the company
- Trying to validate startup ideas
- Organizing public opinion processes
- Trying to involving stakeholders in a specific company case
Step 1 - Writing you proposal vs organizing meetings / workshops
Writing down what you are trying to validate is the first step. Write down carefully and get every point you can think of. This helps making sure that nothing slips out when trying to setup the discussion / topic. Another important aspect is that people have more time to question you when they have the topic written down and this although might mean some controversy (we will talk about reaching the consensus further in the post) it will help you in seeing things in ways you did not think of.
Speaking allows more mistakes, and because writing is less dependant on your skills as a good speaker (speaking well is more of a natural thing) this puts you in a better place to argue with everyone involved, not only you but others as well. This way you can make sure that everyone is at the same level to give their opinions and provide their feedback and suggestions openly and comfortably.
Another important aspect is to be open to receive any kind of feedback. Make people feel comfortable in saying “That is a bad idea”, and this might be easier in a process where they are writing in the “background” and not confronting you in person.
Step 2 - Getting and processing Feedback
The second step is to gather the feedback of your group and for this you will need good tools to achieve your goal. Discuto tries to provide a good one for you to not have to be in the mess of :
- Trying to book meetings with everyone
- Receiving incoming feedback through every channel possible (telephone,email, in person, mailbox)
- Having multiple people writing in the same document making it unreadable at the end
So the point is that you have a system where you can make a simple, organized process where people get :
- Enthusiastic about their involvement in your topic and working as a team to the same goal
- Notifications for changes in the outcome of the discussion (reformulations,changes in the document / rules etc..)
- The good feeling that you actually listen and care about their input, because they have the insight, the know-how, experience and maturity to positively impact the outcome of your decision
But you will still hopefully receive a lot of feedback, and dealing with it might not be as simple as it seems, especially when the different feedback does not point in the same direction.
Step 3 - Reaching consensus and making the decisions
Reaching consensus within a large group is no easy task. People will be pointing out different things and different suggestions, some of them that don’t work together. So who should you listen? Who are the ones that are right and who are the ones who are wrong? And who are the ones that are not being productive in their insight?
Discuto has a patented algorithm that helps you reach consensus in a large group decision making process by analyzing votes and comments of people in paragraphs of a document. Basically gathering not only information about the “type” of vote or comment but also about the user that has posted the vote and / or comment throughout the whole discussion. Rating users in the discussion helps to understand which decisions will have a greater chance of reaching consensus rather than just changing “yes” votes to “no” votes and the other way around. This is shown in the discussion's “consensus meter” which will indicate when you should make a change to a paragraph, indicating the level of consensus that the paragraph now has.
If you would like to try out the process, you can setup a document discussion right here in discuto and see what we are talking about. If you have any questions feel free to send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org