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XLeap Group Decision Support System

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Group Decision Support

Groups are often required to make or inform 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, morale and energy dissipate.

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

Situational awareness

In reality, unlike chess, the situation is not obvious. Sometimes it is not even clear who exactly has joined the game. To get the picture, broad strokes are often enough, but such sketch must portray reality. Moreover, for situational awareness, two dimensions are usually not enough. Multiple points of view apply. There is development over time: how we got here and where this is heading. Assumptions about causality matter and they can differ, too.

Avoid Groupthink

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. By faked alignment, back scratching and groupthink. By judging information by who said it. By preventing people from speaking simply because it is not their turn to speak.

XLeap lets facilitators break down the barriers to an honest appraisal of the situation. With anonymity, participants are free to say how they see it. Anonymity also enables participants to focus on the merit of the argument, wasting no time on who said it and 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 to the comments 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 mere clutter. With XLeap Rating, facilitators and their groups can be precise in prioritizing by importance, urgency, seriousness or whatever the relevant criterion may be. Rating does not only establish priorities then and there. Normalized standard deviation also shows where the group is aligned, where consensus remains to be built and, if so, whether dissent runs through the group or, for instance, departments.

If the objective of the session is a consequential decision rather than tjust having talked about it, exact identification of dissent matters.

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 of which provide the ‘magic’ of anonymity, everybody contributing in parallel, and direct ‘n:n’ interaction between all participants.

Full ideation toolkit
Multi-criteria table

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 encumbering 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, results can, of course, be exported to Excel for further expert analysis or presentation.