Tips, Videos, Handouts

Rules first

Good Group Tips

In principle, it is best to make the rules before taking the field, before starting the meeting. When we decide how  we are going to make decisions before we find ourselves in the tension of making them, it lowers our chances of conflict. It is much easier to establish proposal-development steps and decision criteria in the hypothetical rather then when actually confronted with a real proposal and with real personalities.

“We’ll figure out the rules as we go,” rarely turns out fair and often leads to conflict and resentment.

Establishing rules of engagement beforehand lets everyone know what to expect, gives everyone equal opportunity to participate, and increases chances of creative, peaceful decisions.

Practical Tip: Before you get to the hard decisions, first establish who gets to vote and who does not, how proposals get developed and discussed, and norms of behavior for meetings. For many groups, such rules are embodied in bylaws and meeting ground rules. Imagine the tough situations before they arrive and decide in advance how they will be handled.

Establishing and enforcing rules does not limit creativity, but rather encourages it. Knowing what to expect gives us courage to fully participate.

– 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.

Our interests

Good Group Tips

In principle, good group decisions result when we consider our interests rather than just my interests. My instinct is often to go into a conversation, negotiation, or group decision with the goal of satisfying my own interests, of getting what I want. The challenge is to go into a conversation not just looking out for my interests, but looking out for yours too.

It’s hard to consider what is in the best interest of two or more people, but the result might be a win for more than just me, perhaps a win for all involved. Failure to consider our interests often results in someone losing.

Practical Tip: Make decisions with multiple interests in mind, not just your own. The first step is to fully understand others’ interests, in addition to understanding and honestly sharing your own. Ask, “What about this issue is so important? Why is this important? What are the underlying interests?” Good group decisions start with good listening and shared understanding, and they end with win-win.

– 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.

Direction more important than pace

Good Group Tips

In principle, moving quickly often seems like a good idea but moving quickly in the wrong direction simply gets you to the wrong place fast. Most groups have a high need for quick achievement. We have all heard someone say, “Enough talk, let’s just do something!” And we have all seen groups charge off quickly and with much enthusiasm…in the wrong direction.

Practical Tip: Even when under pressure to accomplish something in a hurry, resist the temptation to achieve a quick, although shabby, result. Quality group decisions, like anything of quality, require upfront investment. Determine your objective before springing into action. Spend some time planning. Read the directions. Check out the map. As Bob Dylan says, “I know my song well before I start singing.”

No matter how slowly you go, if you are headed in the right direction you might eventually get there.

– 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.