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  • Intranet Book: Resolving Complex Decision-Making Processes with Resistance Measurement
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Have you ever heard of resistance measurement before? This is something we often carry out internally when we need to make controversial decisions. We also use wiki pages for this process as well. Resistance measurement involves presenting specific alternatives for a certain decision. Instead of using our ISO certification case here, let’s take the termination of an employee relationship as an example. In this context, we use resistance measurement most frequently as a method. 

Here’s an explanation of the voting options first: 

“No Objections”

The proposal corresponds fully with the opinion and intention of the member. 

“Slight Concerns”

The member comes up with the relevant objections, concerns, risks, questions, and open points that need to be known at least by all involved. 

“Serious Concerns”

It is not enough for the member to merely have his objection heard by the others; they want their objection to be taken into account. The member wants the proposed solution to be changed with this vote. The member supports the current proposal if the group does not find or accept a better solution.

“Stands Aside”

Similar to “Serious Concerns”; in this case, however, the proposed solution is not actively supported. The member does not want to stand in the way of the others and does not veto the decision. 


The member cannot or does not want to clearly position themselves or does not find the decision so important. It supports the implementation of the proposed solution, but does not attach any particular importance to it. 


A veto stops the proposal from being accepted and implemented. The proposal contradicts the member’s basic beliefs, values, or ideas. The vetoing member is obliged to explain and justify their objection. Everyone involved should have really understood the objection. A veto is much more than a serious objection; the vetoing member does not just have concerns or fear risks. A veto is designed to prevent serious and potentially existential harm to the organization. Manageable risks should lead to serious concerns being expressed rather than a veto. Ultimately, however, the decision concerning whether a veto is justified or not always remains with the individual member. 


In the event that the group wants to absolutely implement a decision despite a veto, all they have to do is place the question of the membership of the blocking member and possibly exclude them from the group. Conversely, the blocking member can act in the interest of the community by choosing to leave the group themselves. This represents an ultimate ratio!

I borrowed this information from “Das kollegial geführte Unternehmen: Ideen und Praktiken für die agile Organization von morgen” (in German only) by Bernd Oestereich and Claudia Schröder (see Recommended Reading and (in German only).

Source file: 

Here we can see a table containing a specific option for dealing with an employee after their trial period. For a choice, such as termination or continued employment, specific employees (e.g. mentors, team members, relevant peers) are asked how high their level of resistance is to each option. So, the question is not whether you are in favor of something, but how strong you are against it if a certain option is selected. 

Termination is often the last resort for a company if nothing else has worked. We really have a hard time with this and I know of no one who finds it pleasant to dismiss someone. Sometimes, however, the present working relationship and the prospect of continued employment are not what is wanted. We experiment a lot and give people a lot of freedom to develop. We allow our employees to find their way into different roles. And that often works amazingly well, even though it may not have looked that way at first. Then everyone is happy of course. But sometimes it just doesn’t work out. 

A final decision to dismiss an employee is always a messy affair. This is why we like to resort to resistance measurement in cases like this. Resistance measurement is certainly helpful, even if it results in us having a hot discussion about whether we should invest in an ISO certificate or not, because it may make us slow and intransigent.

What is also important here is that you don’t create a deterministic event out of a digital collaboration. So even if the resistance to an option is higher, you can still choose to select it. Even though everyone in the company can join the discussion and read everything that’s going on, ultimately it boils down to you as an entrepreneur to make an entrepreneurial decision (or, in our case, the team that runs our portfolio board).

Secure bases are often in short supply here. Shall we do “A” or “B”? A company is not like a billiard table where, if you hit the first ball accurately, it hits the second ball, which then catapults the third ball into the right pocket. There is no guarantee that a decision will produce the desired effect. Entrepreneurial decisions are always a result of a balancing act and betting on a result. 

A modern intranet platform helps you stage and promote transparency along the entire decision-making chain from A to Z. 

As an entrepreneur, you can promote communication and exchange. You can give everyone a stage and pay attention to what they have to say. But the decision itself can only be made on a knife edge by those responsible.

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