The Key to More Effective Decision-Making in Meetings

How can leaders balance brainstorming and decision-making, so meetings finish on time and people still feel heard?

Celeste Headlee, a journalist and the author of ‘We Need to Talk’, offers a simple but effective two-step solution:

  1. Introduce the topic and open the floor for discussion. At the end of this step, it’s probably a good idea to summarize what you’ve heard and use the powerful ‘Anything else?’ question to make sure everyone feels heard.

  2. Use your power to make a decision and delegate the tasks.

The bottomline is that you shouldn’t multitask in meetings. As Headlee explains in this episode of the Coaching for Leaders podcast:

“When you are both trying to be present and just listening and taking in information, you cannot at the same time be pursuing an agenda.”

In other words, you have to separate discussion from decision-making, which leads to better decisions and also helps you save time.

This reminds me of Amy Edmondson’s concept of duality in leadership, which I talk about in this episode of the Meeting Strategist podcast.