ATD Blog

How Do You Make Decisions?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

You have decided to attend a football game; the tickets cost $35, but you have not yet purchased the tickets. As you enter the stadium, you discover that you have lost $35. Would you still pay $35 for the ticket, assuming that you had enough money, and tickets were available?

Our decisions shape our lives. The connection among your decisions lies not in what you decide, but in how you decide.

Your cost-of-living budget and your food and drink expenses will frame your decision about the football ticket. Framing a decision is about considering alternatives. You may decide to forego buying food and drink to stay at the game and still stay within budget.

Framing a decision is about asking the right questions such as:

  • What is the urgency of this decision?
  • Can I delegate any part of this decision?
  • How does this decision affect other decisions?
  • Who will be affected by this decision?
  • How much time will this decision take?
  • Do I need to bring in others on this decision?
  • What is my desired outcome for this decision?

Here are decision-making styles you can choose from.

Unilateral Decision Making

Unilateral decision making can be defined as “one sided.” If you make a unilateral decision, you make an act-alone decision, in which you do not consider your team members’ opposing views, concerns, or feelings.

You can choose to make a unilateral decision for multiple reasons, including to:

  • End negotiations.
  • Take action in an emergency.
  • Eliminate group frustration.

Consultative Decision Making


Consultative decision making can be defined as “working with the group to make crucial decisions.” Although you consult with the group, you own the decision made. You will gather input from the group experts on the topic.

Compromise Decision Making

A compromise decision means you and your group members will agree to disagree on the decision being made. In a compromise decision, one part of the group will not necessarily like or agree with decision being made, while the other part of the group will agree with the decision being made.

You may choose the compromise decision-making style:

  • to hear from both parties
  • for a quick resolution.

Consensus Decision Making

According to Seeds for Change, “Consensus decision making is a creative and dynamic way of reaching agreement between all members of a group. Instead of simply voting for an item and having the majority of the group getting their way, a group using consensus is committed to finding solutions that everyone actively supports, or at least can live with.”

Majority Vote Decision Making


Majority vote decision making, also called the democratic voting style, is the decision-making style that will force you to give up ownership of the decision. It will allow all leaders, managers, and group members to cast their vote on a decision to be made, with the majority vote making the final decision.

Multivoting Decision Making

The multivoting decision-making style allows you and your group members to look at the issue, then break that issue down and prioritize by importance. Once the issue is prioritized, you and your group members will cast a vote on each priority issue listed, and the decision that needs to be made for each. This decision-making style allows all involved to cast their vote and voice their opinion on each priority listed to vote on. This decision-making style is great to use when you want to open the door for more discussion.

Nominal Group Technique

According to Bright Hub Project Management, “The nominal group technique is a method used for group decision making. It's similar to a vote, but it also takes the opinions of each individual member of the group into consideration.”

The nominal group technique is used when you want to get everyone within the group or company involved in making the final decision.

What decision-making style will you use for the football ticket?

About the Author

Carrie Van Daele is president and CEO of Van Daele & Associates (, which features her Train the Trainer System for trainers and subject matter experts. Her company was founded in 1996 as a training and development firm in the areas of train the trainer, continuous process improvements, and leadership. It is a Certified Woman-Owned Business. Carrie is the author of  50 One-Minute Tips for Trainers. She is also a public speaker and a featured writer for several publications and organizations, such as the Association for Talent Development,  Women of Achievement magazine,  Quality Digest magazine, and  FM & T magazine. Her degrees include an AA from Evangel Bible College, a BS from Indiana University, and an MSM from Indiana Wesleyan University. 

About the Author

Ronee Franklin is a training associate at VanDaele & Associates. 

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