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Group Decision Tip: Putting People in Boxes Is Not Okay

In principle, when we look at people in certain ways, place labels on them, or “put them in boxes,” it limits what they have to offer. It is especially tempting to “contain” those who disagree with us. We’re tempted to ignore our adversaries, work around them, wall them off, shut them down. These techniques might help us win as individuals, but they work against making good group decisions.

Group Decision Tips IconIn principle, the best group decisions come when we genuinely consider all offerings, not just the ones we like. In fact, what makes collaborative decisions better than individual decisions is the tension of initial disagreement. If you try to wall-off tension or put the tension-causer in a box, you may gain short-term peace but forgo more creative, enduring solutions.

Practical Tip: Muster the courage to really consider disagreement. Muster the discipline to work with people you don’t like. Resist labels, walls, and boxes and be open-minded to all offerings.

When someone is placed in a box — silenced, contained, ignored — they add about as much value to the decision as a cardboard box.

 

Group Decision Tips are written by NCDD member Craig Freshley, a long-time meeting facilitator and group process author. Craig invites NCDDers to view all his Tips at www.groupdecisiontips.com, and to share them freely for non-commercial purposes with proper credit to Craig.

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