Groups are created for a purpose – a specific work project, a corporate department or for social good. Many times difficulties arise when attempting to achieve the group’s goals or even to set those goals. The range of problems is huge, including everything from personality conflicts to unclear expectations to political agendas.
Each group I’ve worked with has a uniqueness all their own but my starting point is always the same. I listen to the members and sometimes those who created the group; I read their body language and assess the overall dynamics. This gives me a feel for where the people see themselves in the group and where their group fits into the overall picture of the organization. From here a plan can unfold the combines the individual personalities of the members with the larger personality of the group.
There are two rules I live by when creating these plans: only win-win solutions are allowed and not be attached to the ideas that get tossed onto the table. The win-win solutions get everyone to support them and are the only ones that truly get support from everyone. A win-lose solution means someone isn’t going to be happy which means someone isn’t going to be fully supportive of the solution. Win-lose solutions quickly turn into lose-lose situations. The win-win is always there – even if sometimes you have to dig really, really deep for it.
The second rule, not being attached to ideas tossed onto the table, helps tremendously when it comes to finding those win-win solutions. Groups rarely seem to have problems coming up with ideas that can solve a problem, develop a new product, or satisfy a customer. By not being attached to my ideas I’m freed to keep looking for better ways to meet the need presented. When we attach ourselves to an idea our brain starts looking for ways to make that idea work; justify its existence; and be the top of the heap idea that will be used. When we let go of being attached to an idea our brain starts looking for ways to make it better; listens for cues from other people for better ideas; and turns the competition into finding the best solution, not one particular idea.