Tips, Videos, Handouts

What’s the problem?

Good Group Tips

In principle, more often than not, a group will develop a great solution to the wrong problem. Before proceeding with a solution we need to see that it is aimed at the problem, and to do that we need to bring the problem into focus. Taking time to define the problem may seem annoying and unnecessary in the short term, but can save huge amounts of time and energy over the long run.

Defining the problem as a group also checks our shared expectations. It helps me decide, “Is this something that I want to participate in?”

Practical Tip: Before discussing solutions, discuss the problem. What are we trying to fix? What is the specific scope of the problem that we are willing to take on? How would we know if the problem were fixed? Are we the right group to fix it?

On paper, write something like, “The problem is that _____________.” It could be a sentence or it could be a paragraph.

Refrain from discussing solutions until you have agreement on the problem statement. Make sure that all those working on the problem are aware of the written problem statement and agree with it.

Before firing off solutions, make sure the problem is squarely in your sights.

– 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.

Changing the process is rarely the solution

Good Group Tips

In principle, making good decisions together as a group requires three key ingredients: It requires good decision-making processes to be sure, but it also depends on the attitudes of individual participants and the actions they take. A group’s decision-making process is only part of what makes for good decisions.

Practical Tip: Use individual conversations to address individual issues. Realize that for many problems encountered by your group, the problem is not the group’s process. Problems are most often the result of individual beliefs or behaviors.

We often try to adjust group process as a backdoor way to address someone’s different beliefs or to get someone to change their behavior. Changing group policy often seems easier than having a one-on-one conversation, but one-on-one conversations save group time and energy.

– 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.

Science trumps intuition

Good Group Tips

In principle, we believe things to be true because our intuition tells us so and/or because science tells us so.

Intuitive knowledge often comes quickly and is based on our direct and personal relationship with the thing that we are judging. It is a gut feeling.

Scientific knowledge comes more slowly because, by definition, it has to be verifiable. Scientific methodology requires us to observe something repeatedly and see the same thing each time, or to do an experiment repeatedly and achieve the same results.

Intuition is the far-easier path and we often take it just for that reason. Science is harder but, when available, it is a better basis for decisions. When science is at odds with intuition, it can be gut-wrenching.

Practical Tip: If good science about the decision before you is available, use it. Even when the science points to inconvenient truths, at odds with intuition, or seemingly impossible to accept, these are not excuses for denying or altering the truth.

Good group decisions are based on the best knowledge available to the group. Where there is no science-based knowledge, use intuition. Where good science exists, accept it and act on it.

– 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.