Doers Search For Common Meaning

doers - small

Mainstream management methods can only bridge the gap between functional and dysfunctional employees, bridging, at best, merely provides a communication link between competing subgroups. In order to close the gap, you need to conduct a purposeful search for a common meaning without creating intra-group opposition.

One way to do this is to form a Group Acceptance Pact (GAP). The GAP is an agreement, preferably in writing, to establish a forum where group learning and understanding are sought, where judgment is suspended, and agreement is not necessary. Acceptance is a critical factor in getting low performers to broaden their expectations enough to feel secure in a group. Underachievers are more likely to acknowledge the views of others if they are first accepted “as is” and not pressured to change as a condition of belonging.

The Group Acceptance Pact is simple to design. The following guidelines provide an opportunity for underachievers to practice self-responsibility in the safety of a mutually supportive group environment:

Keep focused

  • Stick to the agenda.
  • Do not bring up unrelated issues.
  • Talk about one issue at a time.
  • Fully explore each item before moving on.

Speak without blame

  • Share only what you know first hand.
  • Be truthful about what happened.
  • Avoid faultfinding.
  • Seek all the facts.

Comment without judgment

  • Listen to ideas, thoughts, and recommendations.
  • Resist speaking for or against suggestions.
  • Avoid using gestures to express your concerns.
  • Do not explain one person’s thoughts to another.

Set aside attachments

  • Avoid aligning yourself in advance of the meeting.
  • Be open to all possibilities during the meeting.
  • Leave your personal agenda outside the meeting.
  • Do not lobby others for support in the meeting.

Search for meaning

  • Provide explanations as often as requested.
  • Encourage comments, questions, and clarifications.
  • Look for the best in whatever is said.
  • Ask for examples of how things might work.

Acknowledge others

  • Encourage silent members to provide input.
  • Pay attention to each person as they speak.
  • Observe a pause after each speaker is finished.
  • Briefly summarize each speaker’s main points.

Participate fully

  • Avoid side comments and conversations.
  • Do not interrupt the person talking.
  • Take frequent breaks to keep everyone fresh.
  • Restrict outside telephone calls and messages.

Trust the process

  • Do not change the process once it has begun.
  • If the process is not working, ask for suggestions.
  • Ask others how they feel about what is going on.
  • Discuss why you feel the process is not working.

Managers who use the Group Acceptance Pact (GAP) discover that it greatly enhances the implementation of team building, decision-making, problem solving, and conflict resolution. The payoff comes from those participants who, by practicing self-discovery, are no longer dependent upon management to solve their problem. As a result they become self-directed problem solvers who can think for themselves.


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