Better Team Decision Making

From MU Management 8001: Solving Problems Using Systematic Approaches taught by Dr. Michael Christy

Focus on team decision making: three techniques designed to arrive at good decision even if team is not in agreement on objectives and importance of the issue at hand

1. Catchball

– Developed in Japan
Goals: Improving ideas and encouraging buy in among participants

Start with an idea – toss it to the group for improvement
Gradual cycles of refinement until group feels that meaningful improvement can no longer be made


  • Shared responsibility and commitment
  • Feelings of ownership over idea help during its implementation

2. Point-Counterpoint

– Involves two teams, preferably of equal size, with mix of ideas in each group.

Team A proposes idea to team B
Team B identifies one or more alternative courses of action
Team B presents ideas to team A at second meeting
Debate two proposals, identify common set of assumptions.


  • Group agreement on a recommendation

3. Intellectual Watchdog

– Involves two teams

Instead of proposing a counterproposal, one group critiques the other’s approach, leading to refinement in idea