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Group Decision Tip: Things Undone

In principle, things are always undone; housecleaning, unpaid bills, pending repairs and amends. Most of us are uncomfortable when things are left untied yet group decision making is always untidy. Meetings never end having achieved everything that every participant wanted to get done.

In some cases, things undone can be so overwhelming, confusing and frustrating that it leads to destructive behavior or insanity.

Group Decision Tips IconPractical Tip: Rather than breed insanity, change your expectations. Don’t expect everything to be all wrapped up by the end of the meeting, the end of the day, or the end of the term. Don’t go into a meeting expecting resolution of every issue. Expect that things will be left undone and that’s okay.

If things undone are important, write them on a list or a plan. Attaching names and dates to things undone increase chances of achievement. It can bring peace to know that even though something is undone, there is a plan for doing it.

Do not criticize yourself for things undone if the reason is because you were doing more important things. Accept that life is tangle of untied strings; always will be. I have a friend who says with peaceful acceptance, “There will be dirty dishes in the sink and laundry on the floor on the day that I die.”

Did you do the important things? Did you move even a small amount in the right direction, regardless of what’s left lying around in a mess? Celebrate what you or your group gets done and be at peace with leaving things undone.

Craig Freshley on Facebook
Craig Freshley
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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  1. Rick Lent says:

    Absolutely. There is great power in recognizing things undone as well as done. The difficulty is that we tend to forget our accomplishment (“hey, it was checked off the list”) and resolve any personal tension around things undone by focusing on reasons why it wasn’t reasonable to have got them done.

    I like to ask groups three follow up questions:
    1) WHat did we get done that we planned?
    2) What didn’t we get done that we planned?
    3) What are we learning about our efforts from our answers to the first two questions?

    Its important to focus on just one question at a time in this order, or else the accomplishments may still be overlooked.

  2. Thanks for writing this comment Rick. I love your three follow up questions and will use them!

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