Encourage candid dialog, clarify the stakes, provide information resources and begin discussing the decision parameters.
Have them evaluate the potential outcomes of options under consideration while discussing the pros and cons of each. Encourage questions and explore the consequences of ideas being suggested. Challenge them to ask if an element to one option could be combined with something already reviewed to make a stronger option.
Approach the process in a respectful manner, carefully managing how the group communicates so strong voices do not drown out innovative ideas from more introverted participants. This enhances inter-generational communication and encourages more collaborative decision dialogs.
Make sure to develop feedback loops and mechanisms for follow-up. Younger team members could be lost if they don't get periodic updates on the decision outcome. If possible, continue to involve the team in reviewing the progress of the decision's implementation so they can help adjust and adapt your decision strategy based on the evolving outcomes.
Inter-generational groups can provide you with significant ideas beyond options you initially considered, bond more effectively and learn from each other.
If you effectively manage your inter-generational decision-making efforts, you will create a team dynamic that is powerfully focused on resolving issues while building critical thinking skills and learning how to work together to make future decisions for your business.
Jill Johnson, president and founder of Minneapolis-based Johnson Consulting Services, is a management consultant who helps clients make critical business decisions and develop market-based strategic plans for turnarounds or growth. For more information visit her company's website at www.jcs-usa.com.