Tips, Videos, Handouts

Know your lines

Good Group Tips

In principle, members of high-functioning groups know their roles and play them well. When group members are unsure of their roles they are hesitant to take initiative for fear of embarrassment or offending others. When group decision making is inefficient it is often because roles are not well defined and/or group members are not playing their parts.

Lines are limits, a word derived from Latin limes. Lines are boundaries and it is helpful to know them and work within them. A line is also a set of words delivered in a play. In any good production, each player knows their lines.

Practical Tip: Take time to define expectations of each role within your group and make sure the expectations are widely understood. This is more than defining jobs, it is defining decision-making steps and expecting each member to keep step with the process; not act out of order. It is knowing when to weigh in and when to stand aside. It is the wisdom to know the difference between what to accept and what to change.

– 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.

Enforcement

Good Group Tips

In principle, decisions without enforcement grow weak and eventually wither. When rules or policies are not enforced it causes confusion, resentment, and conflict. The word enforcement comes from a Latin word meaning strength. To enforce decisions is to strengthen them.

Practical Tip: Take preventative measures to ensure that members of your group understand the rules of your group. Honor the rules of your group. If you disagree with the rules: Follow them anyway, leave the group, or work in peaceful ways to change the rules.

When you see someone breaking group rules, try these steps:

1.   Discuss with them what you saw. Don’t ignore it when you see practice out of sync with policy. Such a conversation may bring to light that they “simply didn’t know better,” or that they interpret the rule differently, or that a larger issue needs to be addressed. If that doesn’t work,

2.   Point out the consequences of the violation. “When you do ___________, it affects others in the following ways: ___________.” If that doesn’t work,

3.   Impose a penalty. Ideal penalties inflict just the right amount of hurt in order to tilt the scales toward compliance.

When rules are legitimately crafted through good group processes, it is okay to enforce them for the good of the group. Actually, it’s essential for the good of the group.

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

Six Simple Ground Rules for a Civil Conversation

In this two-minute video, Craig tells a live audience about the six ground rules that we use at Make Shift Coffee House: 1) Speak from your experience, 2) Listen to understand, 3) Everyone gets a turn, 4) No one criticizes, 5) Neutral facilitation, and 6) Share with others. These rules were designed to help us navigate challenging conversations about strongly held political opinions, but they can also help us keep things civil in families, teams, organizations, and communities. Learn more about Make Shift Coffee House guidelines here.

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

Here’s what Craig says in the video (speaking to a live audience):

In a moment here I’m going to ask one of you to put up your hands; I’m going to ask for a volunteer to tell us your answer to this question: “What’s right and/or wrong about how we handle guns in America?” And I might ask you a follow-up question. I might ask you, like I did with these folks, “Why do you believe what you believe? Where does that come from?”

As we have our conversation here, I want to keep in mind some of these typical ground rules that we have at these Make Shift Coffee House conversations:

  • We’re mostly about listening. As I said in the beginning, we’re not here to change each other’s minds on these topics. We’re here to understand the topics and understand each other.
  • I’m asking you to speak from your personal experience. I want to know not just the theory, the law, or even the science. I want to know why you believe what you believe.
  • We’re going to try to give everybody a turn. I’m going to ask that you raise hands.
  • No one criticizes. We are not here to blame, criticize, shame, or offend anybody else. That’s just not the purpose of this. The purpose of this is to understand each other.
  • I’m being a neutral facilitator tonight.
  • And the last one there says “Share with others.” And my hope here is that — after the conversation tonight — tomorrow, next week, next month, you will share with others what you learned here about how people think about guns but also the ways in which we had the conversation. I am imagining that we’re going to have a very civil conversation tonight. We’re already off to a great start. Watch how that happens and try to model and replicate these techniques in your conversations in your questions tomorrow, next week, next month. Share with others.
Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.