What is decision making

Infopoint for leaders

Decision making [edit]

As leaders, as a team or as a group, we are often allowed to make a decision between several alternatives in everyday life as a scout. This can be considered rationally for a long time or taken spontaneously. In any case, a decision presupposes a clear goal. The more information there is about the need for a decision, the easier it is to dispel uncertainties. If we use a previously determined decision-making method, we can think about the advantages and disadvantages of the various options in a targeted and structured manner. This often saves us detours and makes it easier for us to estimate which option will bring us the best benefit.

Methods that can help in decision making

The first step should be the careful selection of the appropriate method. Ask yourself: "What is our goal?", "Has the team already reached the voting point or should all ideas and arguments be sorted first?", "What would be the consequences of the decision?", "How safe is this method for this goal or does it need several decision-making levels / methods? "

The decision-making method chosen should then be explained in a clearly understandable manner. It is advisable to allow enough time for questions about the method.

The pros and cons discussion

Use: On the way to the final decision, the pro-and-con discussion can particularly help to examine all sides critically and to collect arguments and counter-arguments.

Implementation: In order to be able to lead a pro-and-con discussion, the topic must first be precisely defined (for example: "Do we want gender segregation or mixed home evenings?"). Now two groups are formed. One side represents PRO, the other CONTRA (when dividing groups, the personal opinion of those involved should not be taken into account). Minutes and neutral moderators are now determined. The PRO and CONTRA groups sit face to face and think about arguments for their position. A member of the PRO group makes a first argument, his counterpart, the CONTRA group, reacts directly with a counter-argument. The next PRO representative answers, etc. In phase 2 roles and places (important!) Are swapped, i.e. the PRO group becomes the CONTRA group and vice versa. The logged arguments are then evaluated together.

Silent discussion [edit]

Use: The silent discussion is particularly helpful at the beginning of a decision-making phase. It can help you to write down all of the team's arguments and is particularly suitable for involving quieter team members. In the case of emotionally charged topics, the silent discussion can have a decelerating effect. She ensures that all arguments are "heard" and that important issues are not decided based on the assertiveness of individual team members.

Implementation: In a silent discussion, questions or statements are written on a flipchart. The posters are distributed in the room / house. Now all participants have the task of only commenting on the statements in writing and discussing them in silence. They can change locations as often as they want and take part in all discussions.

The headstand method

Use: The headstand method can be used both in team decisions and by individuals. It is spontaneous, but can also be used in the long term and often helps when a team is stuck in its considerations. It can also prepare you to be able to defend controversial decisions with confidence, as all counter arguments have already been discussed in advance.

Implementation: If you use the headstand method, the topic is turned upside down. E.g. "What do we have to do to make the summer camp uncomfortable?" Now it is collected (in this case it would be: "Cook too little food, organize accommodation that is too small, plan a chaotic program" and so on ...) This negative list is written on a flipchart and "translated" into a positive task list at the end.

If a decision has to be made between two topics (for example: group camp or step camp), the relevant arguments can be worked out on two separate headstand lists.

The decision matrix [edit]

Use: The decision matrix is ​​a very rational way of making a decision. With this method, in the end it is very clear which option we have chosen. It can be used as a team or as an individual.

Implementation: First we collect the most important points together that are important for our decision. For example, if the leader team goes to a team retreat and there are different locations to choose from, what is important to the team on site is collected on a poster ("Sufficient space, many available materials, easy access to nature, short journey, enjoy your meal, … "). All criteria have to be formulated positively, so I have to be able to say: "The more of them the better!" The participants now jointly evaluate all the options in relation to the criteria found and award points, for example, from 1 to 6. The highest number of points is awarded if an option fulfills a criterion particularly well. At the end we add up the points for each option and read the result.

The glue point method [edit]

Use: The glue point method can be used for quick decision-making between different topics.

Implementation: For example, if you are looking for a summer camp motto, all ideas can be written on a poster. All those involved get the same number of adhesive dots and are allowed to evaluate the options available. The weighting of the ideas among the participants becomes clearly visible. The result can - if agreed in advance - either be seen as a majority decision or serve as a basis for further discussions.

The impromptu method

Use: If you as an individual should spontaneously make a decision for which there are no negative arguments (for example as a cooking team: "Spaghetti or pizza?"), The impromptu method is particularly suitable.

Implementation: Flip a coin. Even before the coin lands, you will feel an inner desire as to which of the two possibilities should become visible.


  • Planning documents for the WiWö seminars Landesverband Oberösterreich
  • Mozarteum University Direction studies (optional subject teamwork)

Further information