Limit Major Decisions To Three People To Avoid Wasting Time

Limit Major Decisions To Three People To Avoid Wasting Time

Despite all the benefits of collaboration, it can quickly devolve into useless debate that doesn’t get you anywhere. The Globe and Mail recommends limiting those big decisions to three people or less.

Picture: Office Now/Flickr

The fewer people are involved the less time you’ll end up wasting:

Use the rule of three. Keep major decisions to three or fewer people. The more people involved the longer it takes to come to a consensus. Small teams coordinate and make decisions, while big ones quibble and form committees.

The Globe and Mail also points out that meetings can be toxic to productivity, particularly if you do a bad job of sticking to the meeting’s agenda. You don’t want to undermine your coworkers by making every decision without them, but sometimes things need to be decided quickly in order to move forward. It’s up to you to decide when that is. Hit the link for 10 more productivity tips for working with teams.

Ten ways to increase employee productivity [Globe and Mail via Reddit]


  • Couldn’t agree more. I find that if I really want to kill a project, introduce as many stakeholders at from the beginning and as close to the top of the responsibility stack as possible, alternatively, allocate it to someone with a proven track record of failure (middle management is excellent for this, as this is where most companies hide their failurites).

    If I want to make something happen in a corporate environment, I start it to about 10% completion, then take it to one person who will say yes (I have about 4 of these and keep them on a ‘fist’ rotating basis). Then I take that yes with the first person’s endorsement to one other person, and those two endorsements to a third person. I NEVER do this in a single meeting with all 3, because one person who says ‘NO’ strongly enough will unseat the potential support of the other two. Divide and concur, (or as I say, isolate and dominate). This also means that if one person says no in isolation, you can forget about them and move on to someone else. When you have enough support across teams, if you have to come back to the person who said no as a matter of necessity (eg, you need Marketing), you just go about it objectively, and gently brush any objections aside, in the context that the initiative is going ahead an that the services of the department in question are required.

    Having enough backing and enough of a start (10% of the work) to rightly claim control over the initiative, and have spread enough of the exposure around to buffer any form of fallout from failure, and multiple sources to draw from (usually across several teams, like Marketing, Sales, Operation, Finance, etc) means that my initiatives are actualized.

    This is what Change Agents have to do when they don’t have the clout of seniority to wield.

    p.s. Remember to share information about your initiative sparingly so that you can maintain control. Also, don’t ‘over sell’ it, eg, don’t say it will bring $1,000,000 in to the company, even if you only bring in $500K that wasn’t there before, it looks bad. Before claiming any credit, you have to get some demonstrable result. Good luck.

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