Tools for Teams: Multivoting

Generating a variety of ideas and solutions through an effective brainstorming session does not always solve the problem of coming to a consensus for a plan of action. Multivoting is a tool that can help.

Multivoting is a commonly used method to help groups select the most important ideas or approaches to a problem. It helps build a consensus for action. Quite often, in a team environment, a list of ideas is generated from a brainstorming session. Often there are too many itmes for a team to work on at the moment. There may be missing information or experimenation that could help identify the most important ideas and solutions. Narrowing the potential solutions is a very important step for a group.

Multivoiting is useful for this objective and consists of these basic steps.

1. Generate and number the list of ideas.

2. Combine similiar items into groups. Be sure the gorup participates in this.

3. Renumber the list after consolidation.

4. Allow members to choose items. Allow each member to choose a number of items equal to 1/3 of the total of ideas.

5. Members make initial choices silently. Ask group members to raise their hands or send in written choices and tally up the totals.

6. Eliminate the ideas with the least number of votes. The group size may effect this, with a small group perhaps not having a strong consensus. If this happens, discuss the issues and decide which ideas to keep or vote again.

Keep in mind that most problem solving teams can only work on two or three items at a time. Develop an action plan on the top 2-3 items. Retain the original list for future reference.


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