Cover Image
close this bookTraining for Elected Leadership - The Councillor as Decision-maker (HABITAT, 1994, 22 p.)
close this folderPart II. Workshop on the councillor as decision-maker
View the documentOverview
View the document3.1 Warm-up exercise: decision preferences checklist
View the document3.2 Trainer presentation
View the document3.3 Exercise: good and bad decisions
View the document3.4 Simulation: the allocation decision
View the document3.5 Case study: a central bus park for Rumai
View the document3.6 Skill transfer exercise

3.3 Exercise: good and bad decisions

Time required: 90-120 minutes


This exercise is to encourage workshop participants to reflect on their own experience with council decision-making and to share these experiences in a group setting. Further, the exercise provides an opportunity for participants to think creatively about what might be done to overcome weaknesses in their own council decision-making. Normally, this exercise is used after the presentation and discussion on council decision-making (see the preceding essay and the handbooks introductory materials).


You can introduce this exercise by saying that anyone with experience as a councillor has seen the council make some good decisions and some bad ones. In the heat of the moment, however, those involved in the decision rarely take the time to reflect thoughtfully on the decision and how it was made.

Write two questions in large letters on a sheet of newsprint:

1. What are some characteristics of councils that make good decisions?
2. What are some characteristics of councils that make bad decisions?

Divide the group into two smaller groups of about equal size. Assign the first question to one of the groups and the second question to the other. A worksheet on the next page may be helpful to participants in making individual lists of characteristics. Ask each small group to compile a list of characteristics on newsprint and return with their results in 20 - 30 minutes.

When both groups have completed the task, reconvene the total group and ask a spokes person from each group to take about five minutes to report the group's results. Allow a few minutes at the end of each presentation for discussion.

Good Decisions

Bad Decisions

With the lists of good and bad council decision- making characteristics taped to the wall of the room, write on a clean newsprint sheet the following question:

What can I do to improve the decision-making performance of the council on which I serve?

Ask participants to think of ways that this might be done and to write them down (see worksheet on the next page). Suggest to participants that they refer to the two lists for ideas. After about five minutes, collect improvement ideas from participants in round-robin fashion and record them on newsprint. As time permits, discuss the results of this activity and focus the discussion on those ideas which have the most merit and how they might be implemented.


What can I do...


What have I learned from other councillors about good and bad council decisions?