In principle, when I enter into a discussion with a statement rather than a question I am presuming to already know all the answers. Most conflicts are due to misunderstanding so when my opinion is based on presumption I am probably headed for conflict.
When I begin a discussion with a question I show respect for others, that I want to hear what they have to say. The longer I remain truly open-minded the greater the chances that my opinion is based on complete understanding.
Practical Tip: Even though you might have an opinion forming in your head, hold off expressing it and start with questions instead. Be genuinely open to changing your opinion based on new things you learn. Good questions start with “why”, “how” and “what.” Good questions are open ended. Examples: “Why do you think that? How has it worked well in the past? What do you think is the cause of the problem?”
When I start with a question I am less threatening to others, I am more likely to develop a well-informed opinion, and I increase prospects for avoiding conflict entirely.
In principle, if we want things to be different we have to see or do things differently. If a group of people are seemingly unable to solve a problem among themselves, perhaps they don’t have the wherewithal among themselves. If a group seems stuck in its ways— unenthusiastic, mediocre—perhaps it’s time for some outside influence.
Outside influences can jar things loose, knock things off track, light motivational fires; exactly what might be needed.
Practical Tip: Always bring new influences into your group: outside speakers, visitors, new information. Seek out those with special expertise and relevant experiences. Do not be threatened by outside influences; welcome them.
Outside influences can help you confirm that you are on the right track or inspire you towards a new track. Both are good.
In this fireside video from a lodge on a lake in Maine, Craig talks about the value of having a plan vs. making a plan.
If you are a planning skeptic, check this one out.
This video has captions. To see them, click CC on the video screen.
Here’s what Craig says in the video
Hi everybody. Hey it’s Craig Freshley.
I’m about to start a meeting in this awesome room. I’m at the Kennedy Learning Center on the shores of Damariscotta Lake, right out those windows. We’re going to sit around this table and were going to make a plan.
Now a lot of people don’t like plans. A lot of people say that plans are useless. In fact, Dwight Eisenhower said, “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” And I get that.
Sometimes — actually most of the time — after you make a plan, circumstances change and the whole plan is no longer valid. But the process of planning is indispensable even if you don’t stick to the plan. Having gone through the effort to think through what is it that we want to achieve — what are the steps, in what order, who’s responsible for what, how much money is each step going to cost — having thought through those plans helps us later even when we have to go off the plan. Even when circumstances change; because we went through the planning process we much better know how to adapt.
So even if you think plans are obsolete I hope you agree with me that the effort of planning is indispensable.
In principle, there are at least two ways to solve every problem. When we are able to be nonjudgmental, we are able to see problems not as problems at all but as misalignments. For example, the problem is not that I am right and you are wrong, it is simply that we see things differently. The …read more
In principle, a virtue of most decision-making systems such as Robert’s Rules of Order is that for a group to consider an idea, at least two members need to think it worthy of the full group’s time. A motion needs a second in order to be considered. Requiring that I get one other person bought into …read more