Would you rather?

Would you rather” is a game you can play anywhere, anytime, to have a laugh and get to understand each other. Participants take it in turns asking each other a question comparing two equally undesirable options, starting by saying “Would you rather…” For example: “Would you rather….eat steamed broccoli for dinner, or go for a 30 minute jog”. Everyone in the group can give their answer and the next person takes their turn to create and ask a ‘who you rather’ question.

Decision making can be tricky for any group and every approach has trade-offs.

Would you rather….

  • Have a single leader in charge of all decision making, who does so quickly, based on their own perspective, or a committee who work slower but consider all voices in the group?
  • Take the opportunity to have your say with every decision that occurs in your community, or only be asked to provide your thoughts on major items?
  • Have a decision making group that anyone can be on, regardless of skill, experience or commitment, or have an application that requires people to demonstrate their skills and commit for at least one year?
  • Take forever to hear all opinions, but make a decision everyone is happy with, or make a decision within the required timeframe and risk some people not being heard?
  • Keep some high stakes or risky decisions confidential until they are decided or ensure all information relating to decision making is 100% transparent and available to any community member for comments or questions.
  • Have to ask permission to trial new projects from a committee of several people, with formal written documentation, or tap one of your leadership team on the shoulder at morning tea, ask their permission and in one conversation get the go ahead to try it?
  • Have a decision making committee that regularly argues, has tense conversations and pours over every detail of each decision with a high level of criticism, or have relaxed,       laissez faire style committee who are optimistic, only sometimes check out the detail and mostly trust everyone to do the right thing?

Questions

  • When have you been part of a decision making process that you felt was both fair and effective? What made it work well?
  • In your current community, what does the decision making process say about your values?
  • How do you know when a ‘good decision’ has been made?
  • Does a good decision equal a good outcome?
  • If you could do one thing to strengthen decision making in your community, what would it be?
  • What is the link between decision making and purpose?
  • What kind of skills are involved in decision making? How can people in your community learn about or develop their skills in this area?

Wisdom from the pews

“There are many different approaches to decision making. In the NSW/ACT Synod innovation projects, the most effective projects used an open conversations approach where anyone who opted to, could be part of decisions as they arose. However, as the “would you rather” scenarios show, these becomes toxic if it leads to paralysis. ”

“This approach can be supported by a formal structure of Elders, Church Council or equivalent where the regular maintenance decisions can be stewarded. The very best projects formed ministry teams with bounded responsibilities for particular projects and a person with official decision-making authority had a commitment to listening widely to everyone involved. Decisions that are driven by energy and commitment work well. ”

“Any ad-hoc, inconsistent approach to decision making by contrast is destabilising and won’t provide any real foundation for making complex or critical decisions where their may be pressure or conflict. It is problematic if a sole leader or paid worker is responsible for decision making alone, without any clear process for how participants can contribute or provide perspective. ”

“A great deal of energy can be wasted when there is a lack of clarity or skill in understanding Uniting Church processes for making decisions, combined with a limited relationship with the wider church. ”

Going deeper

A brief history of decision making

Decision making has gone through many stages of invention throughout history. Take a look at this Harvard Business Review article called “A brief history of decision making”