The publicly-available reports detailing an investigative agency’s results can make the work of an investigator seem black and white: a certain number of cases were opened, a percentage of those were substantiated, and a smaller percentage were referred for prosecution.

In-between each of those steps, however, are a number of grey areas where investigators must make tough decisions.  Does the team have enough evidence that a minor complaint should be dropped because it can’t be substantiated?  Is the evidence in a case strong enough for criminal prosecution, or should the team spend more time gathering more detail?  When facing tough decisions such as these, group input is a great way to ensure that you’re making the best possible decision.


There’s ample evidence that group decisions yield better results than individual decisions, even if it can take longer to get to an answer.  The more diverse the opinion base, and the more thoroughly those different perspectives are explored, the higher quality a decision is made.  How well does your team perform when exploring tough questions as a group?  Here are a couple of suggestions for getting the best results out of your group-decision processes.

Make sure that people have the same information:  Shared information will receive the most amount of attention and discussion at a meeting.  If information hasn’t been shared with a group prior to a meeting, it’s more likely to be ignored as a factor.  This is true even if multiple members of a group are aware of the information but it hasn’t been shared for consideration for this specific decision.

This means that it’s important to make sure everyone has the same information going into a meeting if you’re hoping to make the best decision.  Obviously, you’ll encounter situations where relevant sensitive information can’t be shared with the whole group – just know that in those cases, an individual may be able to make a better decision than a group.

Try to include a ‘dissenter’ on important decisions:  When all members of a decision-making process enter the process with the same preferred outcome, they’re unlikely to change their minds even in the presence of a good reason to do so.  Instead, they tend to spin negative information in the most positive way possible to justify pursuing their initial preference.

To avoid this situation, try to make sure you have a diversity of opinions and perspectives represented in a meeting, even if everyone has the same information in front of them.  In healthy work environments, groups are more willing to explore evidence supporting a perspective that’s not their own if that perspective is being held by a respected co-worker.  If a decision is important enough that it needs to be made by a group, it’s important enough to give fair weight to all of the potential options that could be taken.

Do you want to improve the effectiveness of your investigative team?  Call WingSwept at 919-600-5102 or contact us online to learn how CMTS can help your team accomplish more in less time!