Have you experienced this situation? Here you are at dinner with a group of friends at a restaurant that serves the food family style (e.g., large plates to be shared and not individual plates). Everyone grabs a menu and immediately says out loud what they want, yet there is no set hierarchy or natural order on who should make the decision for the ordering. With portion sizes that warrant only a few dishes, now the group is in a bind where there are ten to twelve requests. How do you resolve this issue?
One of the most insightful lessons that I learned about group dynamics comes from Dara Khosrowshahi and Barney Harford. In every group and situation, there needs to be a “D” (aka “decision maker”) identified as it reduces the confusion when there are key decisions. Once identified, the D hears out different perspectives and evaluates the impact/ tradeoff of the decision to be made. Then, even if most of the group objects, they should follow the decision made by the D (e.g., disagree and commit).
In the case of group ordering at a restaurant, it works just as well. In my personal travels with a large group, we identify one decision maker who hears out what people want and orders on behalf of the group. Though not everyone gets what they want every time, they are typically happy with the ordering and it saves a lot of time and prevents confusion/ arguments.
One way to have accountability and reduce wasted time in professional and personal group setting is to ensure there is a D (decision maker).