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If you don’t have a stake, get out of the way

Good Group Tips

In principle, those who have a stake in the outcome—stakeholders—are the most appropriate participants in good group decisions. They stand to win, perhaps a lot, or lose a lot depending on the decision. In principle, those with the highest stakes tend to consider decisions most carefully. People who don’t have a real stake may want to participate but may not consider issues deeply because they do not have to. Non-stakeholders may give opinions based on shallow considerations, and those opinions can be in the way of the true stakeholders trying to achieve a good group decision.

Practical Tip: If you don’t have a real stake in the decision, don’t weigh in on the discussion. If you are about to say, “Well, I really don’t care either way, but…” or “It doesn’t matter to me, but…” consider saying nothing instead.

– Craig Freshley

Click here for one-page PDF of this Tip, a great way to print or share.

Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.

Write on the walls

Good Group Tips

 

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 might use a laptop and projector. There are many creative ways.

When people make comments, paraphrase them on the chart or the screen. The words don’t need to be perfect, but representative of the view expressed.

When it seems like the group is agreeing to something, write words to represent the agreement. Make sure everyone understands and accepts the representative words.

Writing public words that represent viewpoints and agreements is a learned skill and requires focused effort. When done well it leads to shared understanding and individual empowerment — two key building blocks of good group decisions.

– Craig Freshley

Click here for one-page PDF of this Tip, a great way to print or share.

Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.

A way to say no

Good Group Tips

 

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 implementing the new initiative – is spread out over many individuals, put off into the future, underestimated, or simply overlooked.

But when we say yes without proper accounting for the liabilities they pile up, become due, spread us too thin, and water down our focus resulting in failure to achieve our most important goals.

Practical Tip: Identify and continually affirm your most important goals. Groups do this by establishing strategic plans, decision criteria, performance objectives, and other means. With every opportunity to say yes or no to new things, ask, “How does this help achieve what is most important?”

Practice saying things like: “That’s a good idea, I understand and appreciate your perspective, but that simply doesn’t fit with our priorities right now. Perhaps it could be addressed by someone else or at another time.”

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and other books, reminds us that great organizations have “piercing clarity” about what they want to achieve and “relentless discipline” to say no to diversions.

A way to say no is to have something more important to which you are saying yes.

– Craig Freshley

Click here for one-page PDF of this Tip, a great way to print or share.

Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.
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