Quick Decisions | Training For Change

Quick Decisions


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Training Tool

  • to challenge participants in making rapid, collective decisions;
  • to analyze the outcome of various decisions.
Time: 45 minutes
How to Lead:

First, get participants into small groups (4 to 8 people, depending on the size of the overall group). Explain that participants are going to get a chance to make very quick decisions as a team. In a matter of minutes, in some cases less than a minute, they as a whole team need to reach a decision based on the scenario read. Ask for any questions.

Emphasize groups will need to make decisions quickly. After reading the first scenario, time participants as they reach a decision. After time is up, call time and gather the group’s attention. From each group get their decision they reached (or did not reach). Debrief a little after each decisions. The debrief can happen at two levels: decision-making process and then the quality of the decision and its implications. In the first few scenarios, the quality of the actual decision. In the latter half of the scenarios emphasize their decision-making process (How is the group getting everyone’s input? What helps speed up the decision-making process? What is working?).

Quick decisions is a great tool but can be repetitious for participants (even with unique scenarios). Keep the debrief moving and, after all the quick decision scenarios are over (or the group looks too tired to continue!) have a longer debrief discussing the implications of the lessons.

Example Quick Decisions from Peace Brigades International 

(create your own based on the upcoming action or the group)

Nonpartisanship Quick Decisions

  • Students/clients are on the doorstep of the PBI house and want to keep their files at the PBI house because they fear a raid
  • A trusted client brings someone we don’t know to the PBI house late at night requesting we let them stay because they need a safe house
  • A mob begins beating on a government soldier
  • A team member is sexually harassed at the office of a client (by members of the organization)
  • A female client wants a man for more protection (what if it’s an overnight with shared rooms?)

Suggested debrief questions:

  • Does your option give you more time? (That can often be a great choice!)
  • How does your decision impact your team’s perception of being nonpartisan?
  • Where is your team’s security coming from at this moment? (By being completely open or by keeping what you know to yourselves?)
  • How does your action increase or decrease your safety?
  • What relationships need to be kept in mind?

Summary points:

  • Differentiate between: impartiality/neutrality/nonpartisanship

Where This Tool Comes From

Originally from Resource Manual for a Living Revolution, by Virginia Coover, et al. New Society Press, 1978 (page 59-61).