Five types of decisions

The Latin root of the word decision literally means “to cut off.” And as every person who has sewed anything knows — you should always measure twice and cut once. Thus in an organisation you should always consider your organisation’s decisions twice, so that you only have to make them once.

Loomio

Loomio is one of the best tools I have used to bring a group of people from ideation into action. Because at the core of that process is a making a bunch of decisions.

Loomio exists “to make it easy for anyone, anywhere, to participate in decisions that affect their lives.” But sometime in a community or collective organisation this mission can actually be very hard to implement. So I offer you the following insights and examples in a bid to help you be more effective in your decision making.

Which decisions when?

My biggest learning of using Loomio at Enspiral is to be clear what the decision is from the beginning and how it is framed. Whenever you are faced with a decision I would suggest you consider the following questions:

  • Who will this decision impact? Think back to Loomio’s core mission — if people are affected by the decisions can they be involved?
  • Who needs to be involved? Does it perhaps only need 2–3 people to make the decisions or do you actually need to involve the whole community? Think about the attention economy and the “cost” of needing to get engagement from everyone. Everyone might have an opinion about something — but that does not mean they need to be involved in making the decision.
  • What is the time frame of the decision? Does it need to be rushed or can you take time? Some of the biggest conflicts in Enspiral Loomios have come about when a significant decision has been rushed.
  • How significant is the decision? Will it fundamentally alter the future of the organisation or is it about the price of the coffee beans?

Types of decisions within Enspiral

[You will note that not all of the following Loomio examples are actually decisions — Enspiral has definitely “hacked” Loomio to also be a comms/engagement tool as well as a decision making tool.]

1. Agreements

Agreements within Enspiral need to be made with the whole network. You can see more about how to make Agreements in our decision-making agreement.

Example:

  • Stewardship agreement

2. Actions

People will use Loomio to call for engagement — this might be a request to fill in a survey, share something on social media, or give feedback.

Example:

  • Swarm on Climathon

3. Temperature Check

Involving the network in a decision as defined by our agreement can take time. Thus sometimes it’s worth just seeing what the appetite of the community is. This is a real low barrier way to find out if you are heading in the right direction.

Example:

  • Should we have another stewardship retreat?

4. Updates

Sometimes we will raise a discussion even if there is no decision to be made. This is mainly because Loomio has also become a very effective comms channel.

Example:

  • August check ins

5. Commitments

As Enspiral is a significantly online and remote community — we also use Loomio to get commitments from people.

Example:

  • Stay as a member

Application

My final recommendation would be for you to track a recent decision through your organisation. What was its journey? Who did it impact? And perhaps at your next away day with your team put a decision in the middle of the room and ask every to track it — did you all create the same journey?