Generative decision making process

Generative-Decision-MakingCollective decision making made efficient (yes, it’s possible!)

Making decisions together does not have to be long and painful. The realm of “consent based decision making” is not well known even though it can help organisations make decisions collectively efficiently and wisely. We use this at Percolab, a consultancy company supporting social innovation and collaboration, based in Canada and France.

We developed Generative Decision Making Process, a consent based decision making process built on the Integrated decision making method of Holacracy with the culture and practice of Art of Hosting. We use it every week at Percolab. Our record is 19 strategic decisions in one hour!

The process requires a host, ideally, the host rotates from person to person. At Percolab everyone can run this type of decision making and we rotate organically depending on the day.

When first developing the practice it can be helpful for an organisation to invite in an external host for an initiation or supportive coaching to develop the internal skills.

1. Ripeness

Is the time ripe for the decision? Is the context clear? Is there information or data that needs to be gathered? Could an open conversation help develop the ripeness?

Hosting tips: You might need to offer the group one or two open conversation time slots to get to this point (ex. I am going to put the timer on for 10 minutes while you explore the topic in question). Offer supplementary time slots as necessary. You might need to conclude that the decision is not ripe, and this is ok. Listen in deeply and when you sense that there is a possible proposal in the air, the time is ripe. Invite the group to head into the next step.

2. Proposal Version I

Invite the group — would someone like to make an initial proposal? This will help the group move forward into action and there will be lots of opportunities to fine tune the proposal together.

Hosting tips: Help the proposer name a proposal in ideally one single sentence. Avoid the proposal spreading into multiple proposals. Ensure that the proposal is written for all to see (separate from the proposer) and repeat it out loud.

3. Clarifications

The group has the opportunity to voice questions to the proposer. The proposer has two options to answer — i) Provides the answer or ii) Says « Not specified » if the answer is unknown.

Hosting tips: If someone is speaking without a question (ie. reaction) remind him that is question period. Ensure that all questions are directed at the proposer and no one else intervenes. Avoid letting the proposer speak about anything further than the direct answer(keep it tight). Sense into when the clarification period is about to finish (ie. people are ready to react).

4. Reactions

It is mandatory that each person (minus the proposer) expresses to the group their reaction to the proposal; the different voices and perspectives of all need to be heard. The proposer listens deeply and take notes. Afterwards the proposer will craft a new version of the proposal.

Hosting tips: Begin with the person who has the most reactive emotion and then go around, until everyone has shared their reaction. Make sure that the reaction is not about the proposer, but about the proposal itself — correct if necessary.

 

5. Proposal version II

The proposer formulates a new version of the proposal in light of all that has been spoken. The host ensures that it is written and visible to all and reads it out loud.

Hosting tips: If you feel that the proposer might want to stay with the same proposal, remind her that she can. If you sense that the proposer needs support in formulating the second version, remind her that it is possible to ask for help — however do not rush into saying this.

6. Objections

An objection needs to express a risk or a backward movement for the organisation/initiative. All objections are expressed to the host who then decides if the objection is valid or not. If it is valid, then the proposer needs to integrate it into a new version of the proposal. (Then the objection round is repeated).

Hosting tips:Sometimes people might express personal concerns that are not in fact organisational risks. This needs to be differentiated. If it is fuzzy you may ask for help to the group. This is the hardest part of the process for the host.

7. Visual confirmation

Everyone visually confirms I can live with this decision by raising their thumb. This is a way of allowing all to see that everyone is fully onboard with this decision. If there is something that has not been spoken that needs to be it will show up because a person will be unable to raise his thumb. This can happen when (i) someone is struggling to find words to put on an idea that is important to them or (ii) someone is disengaging in the process (holding on to the possibility to question the decision in the hallway thereafter). Either way it will need to be addressed and the group needs to return to the part of the process that was not fully addressed.

Note: It is good to have visual confirmation as a cultural cue with which the process may be fast tracked. Someone makes a proposal and you can just do a quick check in to see right away if everyone could live with it.

Hosting tips: This is not a decision council and it is not an opportunity to lower thumbs and restart a process. It is simply a visual confirmation. If the process has run smoothly all thumbs should be raised.   If someone is struggling to find voice for an objection kindly support the person and let them know that all information is important.

This sums up the process. A final word just like playing the piano, don’t expect to get it perfect first go. It does take some practice.

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This article is also published on Medium in Percolab Droplets

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Mobilisation créative et collaborative des milieux culturels

Nous vivons dans une société qui prône le travail individuel : on nous demande trop souvent de faire en solo plutôt que de faire avec les autres. Cette vision axée sur l’individu est un puissant frein lorsque nous souhaitons nous engager dans des projets majeurs qui sont en réponse à des besoins réels et pressants. Seul dans son coin, il est difficile d’imaginer les solutions neuves et adéquates qui méritent d’être mises de l’avant!

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Pourtant, dans le secteur culturel, les acteurs manifestent l’intérêt de collaborer et de cocréer afin de renforcer les capacités de leurs organismes et des personnes. Même si cela peut sembler anodin, le fait de réussir à travailler en partenariat avec d’autres s’avère une expérience puissante et fructueuse.

Mais ce n’est pas simple, l’expérience le démontre. Nous avons tous déjà vécu des projets qui ont été ralentis, voire même annulés suite de difficultés de tous ordres entre les différentes instances impliquées. Comment se crée cet écart entre le potentiel transformateur d’un projet et la réalité parfois autre de sa mise en œuvre? La réponse se trouve en grande partie dans les méthodes et les cadres conceptuels qui nous guident dans le travail.

Si l’on souhaite développer sa capacité à réaliser et à réussir les projets partenariaux ou multi-acteurs, il importe de recourir à des méthodes qui ajoutent à la fois de la rigueur et de la légèreté à la collaboration, qui nous aident à voir les différences entre les parties prenantes comme des forces et non des embûches, et qui font la part entre ce qui est essentiel à chacun et ce qui est accessoire. Bien que ces approches soient différentes des manières de faire auxquelles nous sommes habitués, elles nous sont familières puisqu’elles font appel à notre sensibilité, à notre intuition et au gros bon sens.

Ces méthodologies nous aident aussi à déceler les patterns récurrents propres aux processus collaboratifs pour pouvoir agir ensuite. À titre d’exemple, personne ne veut être contrôlé, mais on aime tous dicter ce que les autres devraient faire : comment dénouer cette situation qui montre que le pouvoir est un enjeu de premier plan dans les relations entre les personnes?

La mobilisation créative consiste avant toute chose à suspendre les suppositions avec lesquelles on travaille, à prendre du recul et à s’ouvrir à de nouvelles façons de faire. Les processus de cocréation sont au cœur de l’interdépendance et l’évolution constante de la vie.

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Trois astuces pratiques pour mieux collaborer et pour créer des partenariats durables

  1. Faire preuve d’ouverture à l’égard des autres, en invitant des personnes nouvelles aux conversations, afin d’ouvrir le partage de l’information et aller plus loin vers des territoires inexplorés.

  2. Pratiquer le lâcher-prise, en acceptant la vulnérabilité que le processus nécessite et en acceptant de travailler en mode brouillon avec d’autres.

  3. Renforcer le passage de « mon projet » à « notre projet ».

Percolab a collaboré avec le  Conseil de culture de la  Laurentide en offrant une formation sur la Mobilisation créative et collaborative des milieux culturels. Cet article a été publié dans le journal local en lien avec cette formation et les photos proviennent de la formation (prises par percolab). 

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