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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: How to Move Forward

In principle, when stuck, the most important question is not “Why are we stuck?” or “Whose fault is it?” but “How to move forward in a positive, peaceful way?” Probably this requires an attitude change: a choice to see things differently and imagine things better or a decision to let go of something. Probably it also requires creative thinking about next steps that could be taken in spite of the situation or attitudes of others. And it requires doing something, not just wishing. Practical Tip: […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Lose Now, Win Later

In principle, more important than winning any particular decision is the health of the relationships that we carry into the next decision. Is it worth it to jeopardize a long-term relationship in order to win a short-term decision? Maybe, but not likely. Further, a group member holding out for a win may block the group’s forward progress and perpetuate conflict. They are sure that they are right and that the group is wrong. Is an individual win more important than group peace? Sometimes, but not […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Hear, Hear!

In principle, groups can be very efficient when there is a culture of quick and visible agreement, like in the British Parliament when someone makes a statement and others yell, “hear, hear!” On the other hand, groups can be very inefficient when there is a culture of making points over and over in different ways with different nuances with additional tidbits of information. Further, in group settings we are often quick to find fault and air concerns, a method of group critique that we often […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Clarify, Discuss, Decide

In principle, groups make their best decisions when certain steps are taken before deciding. Making decisions too fast without clarity and without the benefit of discussion is a set-up for bad decisions. The best decisions are made when everyone understands the situation, the available options, and likely consequences. The worst decisions are made based on incomplete or incorrect information. Further, group decisions are often better than individual decisions because groups have the benefit of multiple perspectives and ideas. No one is smarter than all of […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Causes of Conflict, and Cures

In principle, the cause of most conflict is misunderstanding. The parties don’t have the same facts, same experience, same perspective, and don’t fully appreciate how someone else could see it differently. A second cause of conflict is fundamental difference of values. This is where the parties understand the facts and each other but they simply have different values. For example, one person believes in Jesus as savior, another does not. Each person’s beliefs are deeply rooted and not easily changed. Third, parties are in conflict […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Contain Disagreement

In principle, when I disagree with someone’s particular idea or action it does not mean I have to disagree with them about everything. Using disagreement from one battle as ammunition for another battle works well if you want to perpetuate fighting. If you want to perpetuate peace, it works well to contain disagreement to the particular issue at hand. Peacemakers know how to respectfully disagree about one thing and at the same time work well together on another thing. Practical Tip: Enter every discussion as […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Fertile Soil Helps Creativity

In principle, collaborative decisions are creations. Creativity comes from putting together two or more things, events, or ideas. Germination leads to new things. When water mingles with seeds, fertile soil facilitates and supports the interaction. Fertility helps creativity. Practical Tip: Make your decision-making environment fertile. By design of meetings and communications, facilitate the interaction of multiple ideas. Develop a culture of support and nurturing for new ideas. This might be done via ground rules or operating norms. Be consistent in their application. Uphold and stand […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Stories

In principle, all stories are true and some of them really happened. Stories are kernels of truth passed on in colorful ways that help us understand the truths they contain. Most of us relate to stories much better than we relate to facts and figures. It’s not so important that a story really happened but how is the story like my story, like our story? What truth does the story contain about human experience, about our nature? Practical Tip: Make time in your group for […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Interests Rather Than Positions

In principle, when someone comes into a meeting or a negotiation with an already established position, it limits prospects for creative, innovative, win-win solutions. When I state my position on an issue early in the discussion, my focus thereafter becomes defending my position and trying to persuade others to agree with it. I might even get side-tracked into defending my pride rather than considering what’s best for the group. On the other hand, if I’m able to speak clearly about my interests (what I would like to […] (continue)

Group Decision Tip: Alternative Solutions

In principle, considering alternative solutions makes for better decisions. Exploring alternatives results in one or more of the following: Builds faith in the leading option. We get to see that the leading option really is the best among alternatives. Leads to a new, better solution. Reveals that we do not have a clear handle on the problem. Posing alternative solutions pushes us to clearly define the problem that we are trying to solve. When we invite alternatives and genuinely consider them, it also builds credibility […] (continue)