An approach for consensus
Entrepreneurs run their enterprises in the face of extreme uncertainty, constraints and limited funds. Often the founders will have very different knowledge backgrounds and personal traits. This definitely helps in enhancing the capacity but also creates discords and increases time taken for decision-making.
I have developed a 3-pronged approach to speed up decision-making. This is from my experience running my startup with my 2 partners.
What is seen to work is easy to accept. A prototype is a powerful means to communicate, test and critique an idea. For a software product a prototype will be working code with the basic representative features, in case of a design a prototype could be a wireframe diagram, for a toy it could be a static wooden model.
At my startup we had to decide the software platform to be used. I was very keen on Ruby on Rails but my partner had been a long time Java patriot. The deadlock was broken when I built a basic prototype in a few hours. Today we run on RoR, and we totally love the framework.
The way you represent a concept plays a big part in its adoption. An anchor is a reference used to introduce an idea or an argument. Suppose you want to propose the discontinuation of the 50% of your least profitable products – it may start a heated debate. If you use, say, the Pareto’s 80/20 principle as an anchor to state that shrinking your product line will simplify your business improving its efficiency and enable better after sales service for the top performing products, your partners will have a different prospective of your proposal.
3) Mantra Test
Set a mantra for your enterprise. According to Guy Kawasaki, “A mantra is three or four words long. Its purpose is to help employees truly understand why the organization exists.” Every enterprise should have a mantra, it serves as a guiding light. A mantra is different from the vision and the mission statements, firstly, it is short. Secondly, your team can actually comprehend it to stand by it. Whenever a decision has to be made, test it against the mantra, analyse how it aligns with it. This also helps to set priorities to tasks. Weed out anything that fails the test badly.