National Collegiate 4-H

The organizational process requires that many types of decisions be made in a group setting. The ability to facilitate the group decision making procedure is a very useful skill that can be acquired through participation in student organizations. 

Below is an outlined decision making process that can be useful to your organization: 

  1. Clarify the Problem or Situation.
    The problem or need for a decision should be clear to the group members. For example, the problem of trying to get better food in the cafeteria might be clarified by the group to be the problem of obtaining more fresh fruit, larger entree portions and more salad varieties. 
  2. Collect Information.
    Questions like: how much? what will others think?, where?, what restrictions are there?, etc., should be answered at this stage. The group may identify sources of information to be gathered when they lack information and who will gather the data. 
  3. List Alternatives.
    Brainstorm possible solutions. Then, narrow the list down to the workable suggestions and those the group would like to consider further. 
  4. Weigh or Evaluate the Remaining Alternatives.
    The group examines what would occur if they select each alternative. The group should identify the criteria being applied to evaluate each possible solution and be explicit. Resources like time, money, interest, skills may all be evaluative criteria in deciding on a Homecoming Project. 
  5. Select an Alternative or "Tentative Decision" to Try.
    This alternative to try should be the best solution picked by group consensus during the evaluation of alternatives. Perhaps the group will want to present this decision to those who may be affected by it or to a larger group. 
  6. List the Steps to be Followed in Implementing the Decision.
    The group determines what needs to be done and in what sequence to meet the goal of the decision. This is the plan to get to the place where the group wants to be with the issue. 
    • NOTE: Step #6 may be the implementation of the final decision rather than the tentative one. But if time and interest allow, and the group is having difficulty in reaching consensus, then implement steps 7, 8 and 9. 

  7. Evaluate the Experience.
    This determines if the solution is a good one, if it is worth it, or has value. Questions like: what good things happened?, what went wrong?, what changes will make it better?, what reaction did we get from others? 
  8. Make a Decision.
    What is the group solution, policy or procedure to be followed. Group takes action on the plan. 
  9. Review the Plan Periodically.