Tips, Videos, Handouts

Not everything is a problem that needs to be fixed

When a person dies the attending physician is not allowed to list “natural causes” or “old age” as the cause of death. Rather, there needs to be a diagnosis; a problem.

Craig thinks this is wrong. In this video he explains.

Thanks for holding the camera, Molly!

This video has captions. To see them, click CC on the video screen.

Here’s what Craig says in the video

Hey everybody! Hey it’s Craig Freshley here. In Baxter State Park. In February.

I was just having a conversation with a friend of mine. She’s a hospice nurse and we got to talking about end-of-life and how the last time somebody died from “old age” was in the 60’s or something. People aren’t allowed, anymore,to die of that. People aren’t allowed to die of “natural causes.”

In fact, everything tends to be seen as a problem that needs to be fixed.

Well I’m here to say that in group dynamics and group settings, it can really be helpful to not think of everything as a problem that needs to be fixed.

You know what? Stuff dies. Things break. And sometimes the best course of action is to simply accept that that’s the way it’s supposed to be right now. Not everything is a problem that needs to be fixed.

Thanks for listening and I hope this helps your group make good decisions.

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Okay to change plans and rules

Good Group Tips

In principle, an amateur may follow the script perfectly but a professional knows when to change the script or even leave it entirely, depending on the energy of the audience. A novice may know the rules but a veteran knows the exceptions. It is good to have scripts, plans, and rules, but experience warns against unwavering allegiance to them.

Practical Tip: Keep in mind that plans and rules are never an end in themselves but are rather just means to an end. Plans and rules are there to keep us on track toward long-term goals, but if we get off track we need to change plans and rules accordingly.

If a meeting agenda is not achieving the meeting objectives, change it. If an annual work plan is not resulting in the right amount or quality of work getting done, change it. If a law is not having the desired effect, change it.

If you find that a plan or rule is not working for your group, don’t make an independent decision to ignore it. Rather, work within established group processes to change it.

Achieving long-term ends requires ever-changing means.

– 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.

Agendas with end times are efficient

In a meeting room about to implement an agenda, Craig explains how useful it is to state an ending time.

Thanks for holding the camera, Wanda!

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 about to facilitate a meeting in this room and today I want to talk about the importance of an agenda having an ending time. Come this way.

A lot of groups — especially government councils and commissions — tend to have meeting agendas without an ending time because there is an ethic that we want to give everybody a chance to say everything that they need to say. We want to give all the time that’s required for a particular agenda item.

And I get that, but a downside of not having an end time to an agenda is that the facilitator — the leader of the meeting — has no leverage. There is nothing that I can do or say as the facilitator to speed things along, to call people out when comments are being repeated; to take a hard line about things that are off-topic.

When an agenda has an end time, at various points through the agenda I can say, “look we’ve only got 45 minutes. Look I understand that what you’re saying is important but we’ve only got 20 minutes left in this meeting and I want to hear from some others.” As we get close to the end time I can be more and more pushy.

And what I find is that it actually doesn’t have the result of limiting comments. It has the result of making comments more efficient, and honestly that’s what we want in a meeting. If you want your meetings to be productive and efficient, wherever possible state an end time and stick to it.

I hope this helps your group make good decisions. Thanks for listening everybody.

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