Posts tagged: group process


By , January 31, 2008 6:02 pm


Here is how I introduce these topics in my article explaining the Collaborative Edge Decision Making method (Metodo de Toma de Decisiones del Borde de Colaboracion ) and, particularly, the Coordinated Collaboration component for allowing collaborative decision making within time-limited and hierarchical settings:


     Hierarchical and collaborative models of decision making both have strengths and weaknesses. Hierarchical models can breed apathy and alienation, and the absenteeism, low productivity, and carelessness which can result. Collaborative models can lead to an inability to reach conclusions and to carry out effective action and can degenerate into power struggles over leadership. The Collaborative Edge Decision Making Method combines the benefits of both collaboration and hierarchy:

1. Benefits of Collaboration

     Collaboration, where people work together as equal colleagues toward a common goal, has the following benefits compared to strict, hierarchical, top-down decision making:

(a)    The equal hearing of every viewpoint and the contribution of each person’s unique expert knowledge can  lead to  win/win decisions which are more inclusive and creative;

(b)    Egalitarian expression of disagreement can address weaknesses, producing decisions that are objectively higher in quality;

(c)    When participants have a say in decisions affecting them, even when they do not get all of what they want, they experience greater “ownership” of decisions and become more willing and motivated to carry the decisions out;

(d)   Working together toward a common goal also produces feelings of friendship and collegiality which lead to greater enjoyment in working together and greater commitment to the group and the organization itself.

2. Benefits of Hierarchy

     In most business settings, clear, hierarchical lines of authority and responsibility insure that:

(a)    Decisions can be made within prescribed time limits;

(b)    Specialized expertise of individuals can be utilized effectively;

(c)    An overview of the entire organization’s objectives and projects can be developed by executives, in communication with any advisory Boards and shareholders. This overview can be communicated to managers, who can organize the efforts of work groups toward accomplishing these over-all objectives.

(d)    “The buck stops here.” Clear lines of responsibility, and the accompanying power and authority needed to take responsibility, are established.

3. Coordinated Collaboration Component

      In pure consensual decision making, a decision is not made until everyone in the group feels able to go along with it. At the very least, dissenting group members have to be willing to say, “I’m not willing to participate in the project that way, but it’s okay with me if you three want to carry it out, “or, “I think there’s a better way to be found, but I’m willing to go along as long as we review the outcome in a month” or some such qualified assent.

     If someone is not able to agree in any way, it is assumed that the decision is flawed, some piece of information needed for problem-solving is missing, or not yet articulated, and the group will benefit from spending more time sitting with the decision until an acceptable solution arises. Committees can be formed to gather more information, and group members can spend time individually or in pairs using Intuitive Focusing to look for innovative solutions.

     However, in many situations within an organization, decisions have to be made on a timetable and passed along to other collaborative teams or up the hierarchy. Using the Coordinated Collaboration approach of the Collaborative Edge Decision Making method, a Coordinator or Project Manager can set time limits for Collaborative Decision Making and be empowered to make final decisions when the time limits are up and take these to other levels.  Coordinated Collaboration allows the benefits of collaboration within the time limits and structured responsibility of hierarchical organization, capitalizing upon the best of both models.”

Actual Steps of Coordinated Collaboration Procedure

Read on to discover the actual steps of the Coordinated Collaboration procedure.

Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

The site of new insights and creative solutions is at the edge of what is already known. This edge, The Creative Edge, holds implicit within it all past and future knowing about the problem, more than could ever be put into words in a linear way 


By , January 10, 2008 4:46 pm

If you are in a business or academic setting, you may have decision making meetings many times a week, even several times a day. They may be in a twosome, a small group or team, or a larger group.
There are meetings of religious community committees and non-profit organizations we belong to. And, we have decision making meetings with our significant others, our partners, children, or whole family every day!
Below you will find a link to the simple “How To’s For Groups” which arose from my dissertation research, Listening and Interruptions in Task-Oriented Groups, University of Chicago, 1977, with Eugene Gendlin, creator of Focusing (Focusing, Bantam, 1981, 1984, 2007) as advisor.

You will also be able to download articles explaining the theory and practice around incorporating Focused Listening and Intuitive Focusing into task-oriented meetings. 

Main point: creativity and innovation happen when people are allowed enough of a “pause” to check in with their whole intuitive knowledge about an issue or situation. Intuitive Focusing, with Focused Listening, allows space for articulating completely new ideas, not simply recycle old, polarized arguments.

Free Downloads:

Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual

Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

Over the next four weeks, we will look at incorporating the Collaborative Thinking  procedures into groups that you belong to.
You can begin learning now by thinking about the groups you belong to, the meetings you attend:

What are the plusses and minuses of these meetings?
 What is the “whole body feel” of being at these meetings?
 Do people interrupt each other?
 Are conflicts polarized and never changing?
 Do people feel free to share their negative feelings about a decision?
 Does a minority do all the talking?
 Is there a chance to pause to formulate a new but vague idea? 

For a complete explanation of the theory behind access to The Creative Edge and innovative decision making, you can download Dr. McGuire’s comprehensive article,
“Collaborative Edge Decision Making Method, ”  As a bonus, the Appendix of this article includes Handouts you can use at actual meetings, one for each role in Shared Leadership.
The PRISMS/S Problem Solving Method,  with its Core Skills of Intuitive Focusing and Focusing Listening, and the seven methods from The Creative Edge Pyramid  for incorporating PRISMS/S at every level of organization, can be explored in the Core Concepts area at Creative Edge Focusing’s website, and the many Free and Purchased resources found there. Articles en espanol

Read  the simple How To’s for Collaborative Thinking  at Creative Edge Focusing’s website.

Download Dr. McGuire’s article “Collaborative Edge Decision Making”   en espanol

Metodo de Toma de Decisiones del Borde de Colaboracion

Read theory connecting Pauses for Intuitive Focusing with Quality of Decisions in an excerpt from Dr. McGuire’s research, “Listening and Interruptions In Task-Oriented Groups”

Learn more about Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening and Creative Edge Organizations at Creative Edge Focusing’s website, filled with free downloads on creativity, spirituality, collaborative thinking, parenting, innovation in business, and many other aspects of application of Focusing and Listening skills at home, at work, in your community, and globally.

Download our Instant “Ahah!”s Mini-Manual (”Ajas” Instantaneos en espanol) for ten exercises bringing Listening and Focusing into your everyday life starting today.

Download our complete Intuitive Focusing Instructions to start practicing Relaxation, Getting a Felt Sense, and Intuitive Focusing today!

See actual demonstrations of Listening/Focusing in our Self-Help package, a manual in English or Spanish, four CDs of Focusing Instructions, and a DVD with four demonstrations of actual listening/focusing sessions — everything you need to start your own Listening/Focusing Partnership or Support Group or to incorporate these basic self-help skills into existing support groups.

In the side bar at Creative Edge Focusing, subscribe to our free e-newsletter for weekly reminders to practice Relaxation and Focusing exercises and join our free yahoo group, Creative Edge Practice, for ongoing demonstrations, practice, and support.

Find classes/workshops/phone coaching in our Listings section or Coaching/Classes/Consulting with Dr. McGuire in the Store.

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

The site of new insights and creative solutions is at the edge of what is already known. This edge, The Creative Edge, holds implicit within it all past and future knowing about the problem, more than could ever be put into words in a linear way

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