Use Decider anytime you want to move a group immediately and unanimously towards results.


  1. Proposer says “I propose [concise, actionable behavior].”
  2. Proposer says “1-2-3.”
  3. Voters, using either Yes (thumbs up), No (thumbs down), or Support-it (flat hand), vote simultaneously with other voters.
  4. Voters who absolutely cannot get in on the proposal declare themselves by saying “I am an absolute no. I won’t get in.” If this occurs, the proposal is withdrawn.
  5. Proposer counts the votes.
  6. Proposer withdraws the proposal if a combination of outliers (No votes) and Support-it votes is too great or if proposer expects not to successfully conclude Resolution (below). You can approximate “too great” by using the following heuristics:
    1. approximately 50% (or greater) of votes are Support-it, OR
    2. the anticipated gain if the proposal passes is less than the likely cost of Resolution effort
  7. Proposer uses the Resolution protocol with each outlier to bring him in by asking, “What will it take to get you in?”
  8. Proposer declares the proposal carried if all outliers change their votes to Yes or Support-it.
  9. The team is now committed to the proposed result.


  • Propose no more than one item per proposal.
  • Remain present until the Decider protocol is complete; always remain aware of how your behavior either moves the group forward or slows it down.
  • Give your full attention to a proposal over and above all other activity.
  • Speak only when you are the proposer or are directed to speak by the proposer.
  • Keep the reasons you voted as you did to yourself during the protocol.
  • Reveal immediately when you are an absolute no voter and be ready to propose a better idea.
  • Be personally accountable for achieving the results of a Decider commitment even if it was made in your absence.
  • Keep informed about Decider commitments made in your absence.
  • Do not argue with an absolute no voter. Always ask him or her for a better idea.
  • Actively support the decisions reached.
  • Use your capacity to “stop the show” by declaring you “won’t get in no matter what” with great discretion and as infrequently as possible.
  • Insist at all times that the Decider and Resolution protocols be followed exactly as per specification, regardless of how many times you find yourself doing the insisting.
  • Do not pass during a Decider.
  • Unceasingly work toward forward momentum; have a bias toward action.
  • Do not look at how others are voting to choose your own vote.
  • Avoid using Decider in large groups. Break up into small subgroups to make decisions, and use the large group to report status.


  • Vote No only when you really believe the contribution to forward momentum you will make to the group after slowing or stopping it in the current vote will greatly outweigh the (usually considerable) costs you are adding by voting No.
  • If you are unsure or confused by a proposal, support it and seek clarification offline after the proposal is resolved. If you have an alternate proposal after receiving more information, you can have faith that your team will support the best idea. (See “The Core Commitments”)
  • Voting No to make minor improvements to an otherwise acceptable proposal slows momentum and should be avoided. Instead, offer an additional proposal after the current one passes or, better yet, involve yourself in the implementation to make sure your idea gets in.
  • Withdraw weak proposals. If a proposal receives less than seventy percent (approximately) Yes votes, it is a weak proposal and should be withdrawn by the proposer. This decision is, however, at the discretion of the proposer.
  • Think of yourself as a potential solo outlier every time you vote No.
  • Vote Absolute No only when you are convinced you have a significant contribution to make to the direction or leadership of the group, or when integrity absolutely requires it of you.

Copyright © 2010 Jim and Michele McCarthy

(The Core is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. For exact terms see The Core is considered as source code under that agreement. You are free to use and distribute this work or any derivations you care to make, provided you also distribute this source document in its entirety, including this paragraph.)