Efficiency

Get a second

Good Group Tips

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 my idea before taking up the full group’s time assures that the group cannot be dominated by a single person or an untested idea. Further, requiring at least one collaborator enhances creativity.

Practical Tip: Before you take your idea to the whole group, take it to at least one other person first. Be open to feedback and adaptation. Take your idea to someone who could lend credibility and help you take it to others. If initially rejected, try someone else. When at least one other respected group member believes in your idea then perhaps it is time to take it to the full group. If you cannot get at least one other person to believe in your idea, change it.

– Craig Freshley

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

Flat for planning, stacked for doing

Good Group Tips

In principle, different ways of deciding should be applied to different types of decisions.

Deciding how things should be—planning—is well-suited to a flat decision-making structure; that is, where several decision makers are equal and all fully participate. Some call this consensus decision making. As a rule, the longer and wider the reach of the plan, the broader and flatter the planning structure should be.

Deciding how to implement plans—doing—is better suited to hierarchical decision-making structure; that is, roles and responsibilities are stacked upon each other. There is a chain of command and accountability up and down the ladder. As a rule, the more expeditious and short-lived a decision is, the better it is to delegate it to an individual within a hierarchy.

Practical Tip: For each decision, first decide the type of decision: Is it more of a planning decision or more of an implementation-type decision? Will it have long-term, broad impact or short-term, local impact? Apply a decision-making method appropriate to the nature of the decision. Every group member need not decide small, implementation details. Long-term planning and high-level policy should not be in the hands of just a powerful few.

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

Agreements stand until changed

Good Group Tips

In principle, the same formality is required to change an agreement as to make an agreement. For instance, if an agreement is made in a group meeting and properly documented, no member of the group should assume that the agreement has changed or act in ways contrary to the agreement until the agreement is changed in a group meeting and properly documented.

Group agreements often get ignored over time and people come to think it is okay to behave contrary to what was agreed to. The problem with this is that expectations become unclear, especially for newcomers. People are navigating according to different maps—some written, some imagined—and many people are lost. There is inefficiency, frustration, and resentment.

Practical Tip: Make group agreements with a degree of formality and write them down (in meeting notes or otherwise). When it becomes apparent that people are behaving contrary to an agreement there are two choices: Point out how behavior is contrary to an agreement (people may simply not know) and, if contrary behavior continues, enforce the agreement by imposing consequences on violators. Or, formally change the agreement to be in line with behavior. Things change and sometimes agreements need to change, fine.

Ignoring, condoning, or practicing disagreeable behavior is not a choice; not if you are striving for harmony, productivity, and efficiency in your group.

– 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.
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