Avoiding Hallway Decisions

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Avoiding Hallway Decisions

Avoiding Hallway Decisions

One challenge when managing virtual teams is to avoid "hallway decisions." Hallway decisions are decisions made after informal, impromptu meetings. An example of this is:

  1. A manager running into a local member of his or her staff or a manager from a different department.

Hallway meetings are not limited to hallways. A hallway meeting may happen in any unplanned location, such as:

  1. The hallway (hence the name, "hallway decisions.")
  2. At lunch.
  3. After another meeting.
  4. As an afterthought during a phone conversation.

In hallway discussions, a quick discussion takes place about an issue, and a decision is made that affects the managers' staff. Unfortunately, it is very common for these informal decisions to be forgotten and not passed along to some or all of the staff.

In most situations, the best decisions are made when all thoughts are laid out on the table and everyone has had a chance to give input. Ad hoc decisions often overlook important considerations, and this can be avoided by intentionally including other personnel. Virtual group meetings are powerful tools to support intentional communication.

To avoid hallway decisions, managers must be intentional about communication. This means they will:

  1. Record all conversations that affect the team.
  2. Make hallway decisions only when necessary.
  3. Have a communication plan, which includes:
    1. Agreed-upon methods of communication.
    2. Regularly scheduled meetings.
  4. Communicate with their staff as often as possible.
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