Group Decision Tip: Define the Edges

In principle, the center of a circle is equidistant from all points on its perimeter. We need to know the edges to know the center. To know what’s centrally acceptable to a group of decision makers, it helps to know the outer limits of acceptability: what’s unacceptable.

Group Decision Tips IconPractical Tip: Say wild ideas. Make bold proposals. Be provocative. Know that the group is actually well-served when someone responds, “Now that’s going too far,” or, “That’s stepping over the line.” Like a flashlight investigating a dark basketball court, shine it all over to find the boundaries.

If you are having a hard time defining how something should be, work for awhile on defining how it should not be. Try stuff on so you know what doesn’t fit. Explore side roads so you know which ones dead end. Work inward from what you know is out of bounds.

PS: Don’t be attached to clothes that don’t fit or roads that go nowhere.

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Steve Cottle

Thanks for sharing – I like this concept of defining the edges. I think it can sometimes be a lot easier to do this by being bold and then reigning in, rather than very slowly and incrementally making your way out from the center until you’ve hit the edge. If you use the incremental approach, it can be a lot harder to notice once you’ve reached the edge, too.

Sandy Heierbacher

Thank you so much for commenting on this post, Steve! It’s from the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) community blog. I’ll share your comment with the author of the post, Craig Freshley. If you want to see more of his Group Decision Tips, please visit http://ncdd.org/7785 for all of Craig’s posts.