Decision games

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —July 21, 2007
Filed in Decision-making, Insight

Decision games are a way to practice making judgements before you need to make them. They consist of a scenario that a group of people review and then decide how they would proceed. The most important aspect of a decision game is the conversation it triggers.

Here’s how they work.

The facilitator reads a scenario (a story) to the group and stops before the end.

The participants are given three to five minutes to develop a response and give reasons why (What happens next? What would you do and why?).

Then, the facilitator calls on someone to respond and suggest how they might resolve the problem.

After the first person provides their response, the facilitator then probes for their rationale and perhaps tries to elicit other stories. You might also challenge the person about the weak points and downside of the course of action.

Then, the facilitator asks others to comment on this solution and to present their ideas so several people get their turn in the hot seat.

Finally, you should have a general discussion about how to avoid or minimise these types of problems.

The game should take 30 minutes to run, with an additional 20 minutes for general discussion.

It is good to end the session when there is still something to get out of the discussion.

The game has been a success if the participants are still talking about the scenario as they return to their desks.

The preceding description is based on Gary Klien’s book, “Intuition at Work: Why Developing Your Gut Instincts Will Make You Better at What You Do”

We have just developed some decision games for a government agency to help new Aboriginal staff develop ways to balance their community obligations with their departmental commitments.

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:

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