Tiny House
More About The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation • Join Now!
Community News

From the CommunityAuthor Archives: Craig Freshley

Blogger Bio:  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.

Group Decision Tip: High ground

In principle, groups often get bogged down in details (who should do what by when and how) and fail to stay on the high ground (strategic direction and guiding policies). The group as a whole has the unique perspective of seeing all that the group is doing, all the opportunities, all the threats. It is a view from the hill top. An individual group member has the unique perspective of seeing the details on the ground and has the best sense of how to actually implement […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Detachment

In principle, detachment is the key to peace. Sometimes we are so attached to things that we are apt to fight for them, so attached that when they disappear it brings great pain, so attached that our judgment is clouded to the point where we see and feel only conflict. While right-sized compassion brings comfort, oversized attachment to people, ideas, or feelings brings turmoil and tension. While right-sized determination brings achievement, unwavering attachment to goals or ideals brings conflict. Practical Tip: Do not be too attached […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Accountability

In principle, accountability is comparing expectations with actions, what we hoped would happen against what actually happened. It requires that expectations are written. It requires that actions are evaluated in light of the expectations. And there’s another requirement. When we are accountable we say out loud that things were achieved as expected or that things were not achieved as expected. We don’t ignore successes or transgressions, we account for them. Accountability done right is very helpful for personal and group development. It pushes us to […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Flat for planning, stacked for doing

In principle, different ways of deciding should be applied to different types of decisions. Deciding how things should be — planning — is well-suited to a flat decision-making structure; that is, where several decision makers are equal and all fully participate. Some call this consensus decision making. As a rule, the longer and wider the reach of the plan, the broader and flatter the planning structure should be. Deciding how to implement plans — doing — is better suited to hierarchical decision-making structure; that is, […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: My part

In principle, there are at least two pieces to every puzzle, at least two parts to every solution. No solution to a problem is entirely in the hands of just one person. For example, people at the back of a room might have a hard time hearing the speaker at the front. When this happens someone is apt to suggest to the speaker: “Speak up.” But another solution is in the hands of the listeners: “Move closer.” If I have a problem with someone’s behavior, […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: E-mail

In principle, e-mail is an efficient way to communicate in groups, but it is a relatively new way of communicating that we are still getting used to. E-mail is instant, like conversation; enduring, like a written document; and able to be copied and distributed like nothing we have ever known. The combination of these three attributes makes it rather like a chainsaw: very effective when used properly, very dangerous when used on impulse or in anger. E-mail is most effective when used to convey facts […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Write on the walls

In principle, good group decisions stem from shared understanding and shared understanding comes from reading off the same page. Also, people like to feel heard and when people feel heard it allows the group to move on. A very effective way for someone to feel heard is for their point to get written for everyone to see. Practical Tip: For every group meeting, have on hand the ability to write words in front of the group. Markers and a flip chart work well or you […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Right to be wrong

In principle, in relations among equals, people have a right to be wrong. Often it is only by being wrong for a while – trying on an opinion that doesn’t fit — that one comes to realize what is truly right. Without the freedom to be wrong one is often in tension, discontent with the present, wishing for a different way. When I think you are wrong and I am right, the question is not “How can I make you change?” but rather, “Given our […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Enforcement

In principle, decisions without enforcement grow weak and eventually wither. When rules or policies are not enforced it causes confusion, resentment, and conflict. The word enforcement comes from a Latin word meaning strength. To enforce decisions is to strengthen them. Practical Tip: Take preventative measures to ensure that members of your group understand the rules of your group. Honor the rules of your group. If you disagree with the rules: Follow them anyway, leave the group, or work in peaceful ways to change the rules. […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Discipline

In principle, discipline is remembering what I want. Step one of course is to figure out what I want. That’s hard all by itself. Yet without a clear definition of the goal, discipline is impossible. Chasing fleeting aspirations willy-nilly often results in a random undisciplined path that amounts to little progress. Step two is to stay on the path, remember what I want, where I want to be. It is so easy to be distracted. Disciplined people have learned how to resist distraction. Step three […] (continue)