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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: 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)

Group Decision Tip: Best We Could With What We Had

In principle, it’s really good to be able to say, “We did the best we could with the time, tools and information that we had.” Notice the past tense. We DID something, even with limited resources. Many groups get stuck and fail to achieve anything because they don’t have enough time, tools, or information to make as good or as big a decision as they would like. Actually, groups never have enough time, tools or information to make perfect decisions. The trick is to do the […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Best Solutions Begin With Self

In principle, when things are not right, a natural instinct is to want someone else to do something different or to want a policy to be different, but rarely are these the best solutions. It is easy to think my problem would be solved if only you would change. It is easy to think that the law or policy is wrong, rather than me. Sometimes laws or other people’s attitudes or behaviors need to change, but it is often most effective to change my own attitudes […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Credit the Group

In principle, members of high-functioning groups are focused on the success of the group as a whole rather than on who should get credit or blame within the group. Harry Truman said, “It is amazing what you can do if you do not care who gets the credit.” Similarly, groups get more done when unconcerned with assigning blame. Rather than spend energy accounting for past individual credit or blame, it is better to invest lessons from the past into future good group decisions. When I believe […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: A Way to Say No

In principle, it is generally much harder to say no than to say yes, either in a group or as a group. As an individual in the face of group sentiment – sometimes called peer pressure – it is much easier to quietly agree than to take an opposing stand. As a group faced with adding things or cutting things, saying yes to new things is much easier than saying no because we get instant credit for new intentions but the liability – the responsibility for […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Straw Vote

In principle, the best group decisions are based on shared understanding of everyone’s perspective, and a good way to get a quick read of where everyone stands is to take a straw vote. A straw vote is not a real vote; it doesn’t count over the long run, like straw. Someone might say, “Let’s just see how people feel about the latest idea. All those who tend to like it, show a thumb up. If you tend not to like it, show a thumb down. […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Love

In principle, it is love that truly changes hearts and transforms people, not power or rules. It is love that compels sustained changes in behavior, not oaths or doctrines. It is love that provides a willingness to give and it is love that helps us accept, let go, and find peace. Most group decision-making models encourage that we not include love in the mix. We’re supposed to be objective, rational, unemotional. This works well on the field of battle where the goal is to beat […] (continue)