Tips, Videos, Handouts

Brake in advance

Good Group Tips

In principle, when you have to stop or change course by a certain time or place, it helps to prepare in advance. The more momentum something has, the longer the stopping distance; the more preparation required.

In physics, momentum is mass times velocity. In groups, momentum is number of people times level of energy, such as enthusiasm or anger. A large group of fired-up people is simply unable to stop or change course quickly. And as any driver knows, if we try to stop or change course too quickly we can lose control with disastrous results.

Practical Tip: If you are the group facilitator or leader, give your group advance notice when approaching the end of a discussion or project, or when a policy change might be coming. Build in advance the expectation for stopping or changing at a certain time or place. Meeting agendas with times and project plans with dates serve this function well.

Of course braking in advance requires knowing in advance what’s coming. Establish and heed early warning signs. Groups appreciate regular updates on what lies ahead. Groups hate to make decisions without advance warning.

Braking in advance also requires good brakes, the most critical part of any moving object. The most important thing about learning how to ski fast is learning how to brake fast. In groups, good brakes are all about attitude; the ability of group members to be open-minded and flexible in light of new information or circumstances.

If you are part of a large group with much energy, throw your weight in the direction you would like to see things go yet calibrate your expectations to the group’s momentum.

– 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.

Things undone

Good Group Tips

In principle, things are always undone; housecleaning, unpaid bills, pending repairs and amends. Most of us are uncomfortable when things are left untied yet group decision making is always untidy. Meetings never end having achieved everything that every participant wanted to get done.

In some cases, things undone can be so overwhelming, confusing and frustrating that it leads to destructive behavior or insanity.

Practical Tip: Rather than breed insanity, change your expectations. Don’t expect everything to be all wrapped up by the end of the meeting, the end of the day, or the end of the term. Don’t go into a meeting expecting resolution of every issue. Expect that things will be left undone and that’s okay.

If things undone are important, write them on a list or a plan. Attaching names and dates to things undone increase chances of achievement. It can bring peace to know that even though something is undone, there is a plan for doing it.

Do not criticize yourself for things undone if the reason is because you were doing more important things. Accept that life is tangle of untied strings; always will be. I have a friend who says with peaceful acceptance, “There will be dirty dishes in the sink and laundry on the floor on the day that I die.”

Did you do the important things? Did you move even a small amount in the right direction, regardless of what’s left lying around in a mess? Celebrate what you or your group gets done and be at peace with leaving things undone.

– 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.

Trust takes over

Good Group Tips

In principle, when making good group decisions we try to get all the facts and fully understand before deciding. Yet it’s impossible to understand every detail, every nuance, every possibility, and that’s where trust takes over.

We work to understand as much as we can, but at some point we just need to trust our intuition, other people, and the process. It’s called faith.

For the rational person, the path to resolution is mostly paved with understanding, with a bit of trust at the end. The rational person wants as much evidence as possible. For the intuitive person, the path to resolution begins with a bit of understanding and then trust paves most of the rest of the way. Going mostly on gut feeling is very comfortable. For all of us, truly good decisions require some combination of understanding and trust.

Practical Tip: Work on both, understanding and trust. To understand: Gather the facts, hear all perspectives, review best practices, read, apply trial and error, listen to your heart. To build trust: Do things together, eat together, demonstrate honesty and dependability, support each other through hardships, tell stories, share pictures of your loved ones.

Answer as many questions as you can but at some point you have to decide even without every answer and it comes down to trust.

– 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.