Tips, Videos, Handouts

Advice

Good Group Tips

In principle, advice works best when it is solicited and unconditional.

Practical Tip: Generally, don’t give advice unless asked. Who are you to say that you know best, especially when you have not walked in the other’s shoes? If you give advice only when asked you are on solid ground and minimize reasons for regrets. Unsolicited advice is called for only when an intervention is truly warranted.

Give advice without expectations about what will result. Giving advice with strings — conditions or expectations — is a set up for disappointment. Besides, unconditional advice is much more useful to the receiver. Better decisions are made when the decider is free to act on all, part of, or none of the advice given.

Receive solicited advice with appreciation, whether you like it or not.

Ask for advice with specifics and parameters. You might ask for comments on a written proposal or answers to a specific question. Or you might describe a specific situation and ask, “What would you do?”

I hope you asked for this Tip. Use it however you like.

– 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.

Single-tasking

Good Group Tips

In principle, even though multi-tasking seems ever more popular, the fact remains that focusing on one goal at a time is the surest way to achieve them. Juggling many balls may appear impressive, but the more balls in the air the greater the chance of dropping one, or several. Groups are especially prone to failure when trying to do too many things at once, and especially prone to success when everyone is focused on a single task.

Of course, to focus on a single task the single task must be well defined. Many groups flounder because the participants are not clear on what they are supposed to be doing. Absent a well-defined problem to be solved or objective to be achieved, group members can’t be blamed for coloring outside the lines or getting off track. What lines? What track?

Practical tip: When you meet with others to make a decision, define the task at hand and then focus on achieving it. Resist the temptation to simultaneously check e-mail or have side conversations or view other screens or work on other projects. Even when bored or when you think you have nothing to contribute, meditate and search within for creative solutions. Listen to others for deep understanding. Quietly jot notes on how things could be better. Even though silent, there are many ways to contribute to the group task.

Discourage other group members from weaving in and out of participation, distracted by other things.

The magic of groups happens when several brains and hearts are focused on a single task. The frustration of groups happens when undefined or multiple tasks suck energy from singleness of purpose.

– 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.

Best we could with what we had

In principle, it’s really good to be able to say, “We did the best we could with the time, tools and information that we had.” Notice the past tense. We DID something, even with limited resources. Many groups get stuck and fail to achieve anything because they don’t have enough time, tools, or information to make as good or as big a decision as they would like.

Actually, groups never have enough time, tools or information to make perfect decisions. The trick is to do the best you can with what you have rather than be stuck while waiting or wishing for more resources.

By the way, to do “the best we could” does not mean “the most we could.” Often, less is best. Doing our best is usually about quality, not quantity.

Practical Tip: If you start to fall short of a deadline, honor the deadline anyway, perhaps even with a lesser product or service. Pushing off a deadline once or twice for good reason is fine, but repeatedly missing deadlines to achieve perfection often just results in missed deadlines and stalled projects. Honoring deadlines with lesser achievements is at least progress in the right direction and helps us learn along the way.

When others fall short of deadlines or other expectations, give them a break. One’s ability to achieve is always related to one’s blessings and burdens. I once heard someone say, “My mom did the best she could with the tools and information that she had.”

– 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.