Skip to main content
  • Group Decision Support

XLeap Group Decision Support System

For better answers

Group Decision Support

Groups are often required to make or advise on decisions: Because multiple perspectives are likely to improve the decision at hand. Because their consent is required. Because they must pull their weight in implementation.

Unfortunately, left to themselves, groups are notoriously ill-equipped to do this well. Often, perspectives are not shared honestly. Compromise is frequently elusive or just glossing over, failing to convince or mobilize anyone. Implementation is lackluster, matters drag on, issues resurface, and morale and energy dissipate.

This situation can be very different when XLeap, the leading Group Decision Support System, is used to facilitate groups in their decision making.

Situational awareness

In real-world organizations and large projects, unlike in chess, the situation is not obvious. Sometimes, not even all the players are clearly identified. To get the picture, broad strokes are often enough, but such an overview must portray the issues at hand realistically. Moreover, for situational awareness, two dimensions are usually not enough: Multiple points of view apply. There is development over time: "How did we get here?" and "Where is this heading?" Assumptions about causality matter, and they can also differ wildly.

Let people communicate honestly

The inherent complexities of situational awareness are unavoidable. But they need not be compounded by people’s unwillingness to share honestly what they know and think, or by insincere alignment, or by favor-exchanging, or by groupthink. By judging information by who said it. By preventing people from contributing simply because it is not their turn to speak.

XLeap lets facilitators break down the organizational and personal barriers to arrive at an honest appraisal of the situation. With anonymity, participants are free to say how they see issues. Anonymity also enables participants to focus on the merit of the argument, wasting no time on who said it or second-guessing their politics. Since, in the XLeap workspaces, participants contribute in writing, they are free to contribute at will when they have something to ‘say’ and to react directly and immediately to the comments or ideas of others.

Avoid group think

In short: With XLeap, relevant information and opinions are shared honestly and judged on merit. Groups can generate and process astonishing amounts of information, very fast.

Priorities, dissent, and consensus

Even the best of brainstorming sessions and discussions produce a lot of noise which can obscure vital information. For instance, some issues being discussed at greater length and more passionately than others often just means that people feel strongly about them or that they believe strong feelings are expected.

Rating sheet

The good news is that, given the right tools, groups are quite good at distinguishing what is relevant for a situation from what is mere clutter. With XLeap Rating, facilitators and their groups can be precise in prioritizing issues by importance, urgency, seriousness, or whatever the relevant criterion may be. Rating not only establishes priorities then and there: A normalized standard deviation also shows where the group is aligned, where consensus remains to be built, and if so whether dissent runs through the entire group or, for instance, between particular departments.

If the objective of the session is to make a significant decision rather than just having discussions about a topic, exact identification of dissent matters. This clarity allows for addressing specific concerns and hesitations on decision making.

Creative problem solving

Where the choices are not obvious, alternative courses of action - solutions - need to be worked out which is why any Group Decision Support System must be strong on ideation.

With XLeap, facilitators and consultants command the full ideation toolkit:

  1. Brainstorm for generating ideas
  2. Categorization to identify themes
  3. Rating for prioritizing ideas worthy of further attention
  4. DeepDive to develop promising ideas into concepts

All tools can provide the ‘magic’ of anonymity, everybody contributing in parallel, and direct, hierarchy-free ‘n:n’ interaction between all participants.

Full ideation toolkit
Multi-criteria table

Multi-criteria utility analysis

For a group to decide on a course of action is not straightforward almost by definition: If the solution were obvious, it would have been taken without convening and tasking a group of experts and decision makers.

Decisions which require group input usually target complex situations where multiple problems or opportunities come together and involve trade-offs. What exactly is the effect of the proposed measures on issues A, B, C, and D? Do measures affect all issues equally or are some measures strong on issue A, while others are strong on issue B? What about feasibility? Cost? Time to implementation?

Multi-criteria chart

With XLeap, such utility analysis becomes an integral part of facilitation. Participants rate selected items on relevant criteria. If the group is to make the decision, sophisticated analysis can occur then and there, complete with graphics, weighting of criteria, real-time calculation of indicator values (e.g., likelihood x impact = risk) and threshold analysis.

If the group is tasked with informing the decision making of others (e.g., top management), XLeap session results can, of course, be exported to Word or Excel Excel for further expert analysis, review, or presentations.