Perfect My Practice: Collaborative Problem Solving

I like this picture I found. Imagine you’re the rat. There’s a delicious piece of cheese (I’m privvy to a little camembert myself) waiting for you at the end of this very green maze. The smell, the curiosity is killing you (soon too, literally).  You really feel it will be worth it, so round and round you go until you finally reach your piece of cheese.

What happens next? We can only guess.

I think in a way this image sums up decision making. You feel like you’re on a clear path but then it starts to go round and round in circles. Your destination becomes unclear and perhaps the reward at the end isn’t so fantastic. Just a lot of sore heads and maybe some bruised egos.

This poor rat was on his own. What if he had a family of rats that needed the cheese? Do they all go down with the boat, sorry throat, or does the leader take one for the team and the others cut and run? Will the others be crushed after their leaders demise and their attempted escape from the clutches of the snake?

Have you ever felt like this during a team meeting? Leading a team meeting?

Last week at TLP we looked at collaborative problem solving.  Up until now in the TLP we’ve looked at what leadership is, how people in teams are all different, how that in turn effects team building and leading and managing change. It also effects how decisions are made.

Essentially the session was about what qualities are needed as leaders to facilitate change and what the process for decision making can be. It was also an opportunity for us to try out some different decision making techniques. These included:

I’ve linked to some information about each one if you’re interested in exploring more.

I think the one thing I got out of the session was that it was refreshing to try something new. I realised how complacent people can become if the only way they make decisions is to use the creative brainstorming technique. I liked that in the nominal group technique everybody had to have a say and they had to add something new each time. I love the 6 Thinking Hats because it forces you to think differently but at the same time you’re building upon the ideas presented and you really feel like you’re getting somewhere.

You’re less like a drowned rat and more like a hungry one who can get to the cheese and eat it too.

How do you make decisions in your school teams? What was the outcome? Do you know other decision making strategies that may be effective?

Image Credits:

Curiosity Killed The Rat, Tang Yau Hoong, Used Under Creative Commons.