Group Processes

By Molly Breysse Cox and Patricia Hughes

Paying attention to group process and design has a big payoff for constructing collaboration. Positive group interaction and sustainability doesn’t just happen.  An important element of this Project has been raising the participants’ awareness of that.  For the women involved in this Project, paying attention to positive group process enables them to focus energy and effort on learning from each other, building new collectives and having new conversations.

In this section we will cover the importance of group process and building trust, creating group identity, which includes shared group values and Gracious Space, processes for learning together, which includes Mind Mapping, World Cafe, Circle Process and Networking, and tools to help groups stay on the path, including Appreciative Inquiry, SWOT Analysis and the ORID Discussion Method.

Coming Together and Building Trust

As the women came together in nine conversations, it became evident that building trust is vital for healthy group dynamics.  Trust is a vital ingredient in group life and its presence creates the conditions that allow us to lower our defenses and wholeheartedly enter the space of learning and leadership.  However, the trust experience can be very abstract, and can have emotional implications, so it is important to ground it in ritual, practice or verbal and physical reminders that it exists and is real.

We each have different levels of willingness and capacity to trust others – on one end of the spectrum are people who give others their trust immediately and on the other end are people for whom trust must be earned over time.  Regardless of where we fall on the spectrum, trust is transforming – if we include it in our processes and structures.

Trust has the power to impact every relationship and experience in our lives.  It is a cocreated experience with a big – often invisible – impact on collaboration.  Evidence of trust exists everywhere in our daily lives, and can be measured by how much we can do with others, how open and honest we are, how reliant we are upon others, and they upon us.

Building trust as a foundation requires examining values, norms and principles for guidance and direction.  This process includes setting expectations, addressing biases and barriers to collaboration, and finding tangible ways to focus energy on the change we have come together to make.

Along with awareness of values, norms and principles, groups need a shared understanding of how these principles show up in behaviors.  It is not sufficient to say that your organizational values are, for example, accountability and integrity; the team also needs to see how these values are replicated in behaviors, systems and procedures, every day.  Spelling out values in terms of behavior will make it less risky to have a conversation where trust is an issue, because it will be evident whether the behaviors are being done, or not.  And, just as it is important to identify the behaviors of others that enhance or impinge upon trust, so must we be vigilant to our own behaviors that can enhance or get in the way of our own trustworthiness.  The challenge for leaders is often shifting from a focus on how others are draining the trust to seeing how we are impacting the ability of others to trust us, and therefore our actions and vision as a leader.

One way to build trust in groups is to share stories about ourselves.  Sharing information builds trust; the more we know about others, the less we tend to make up or distrust their motivations.  Stories can be as simple as responding to a question, such as: What drew you to this project? Or, What is a skill or gift that you want to contribute to this effort?  Or, What is a time when you experienced joy in community?  Stories are ageless, and humans have been using them to connect for centuries.

Another way to establish trust is by thinking about three specific elements that affect trust:  character, competence, and consistency.  Character is a person or group’s basic personality and way of being in the world.  Do the individuals possess a good, true character? Competence is the degree to which the person or group is capable of doing a designated part or job.  Do the individuals have the right skills and expertise?  Do they have relevant and good ideas about the work?  Can they plan and implement the work in a way that gets good results? Consistency is the reliability of a person or group in regularly achieving good results.  Is this person or group reliable and accountable?  Do they follow through on good ideas?  Are they consistently present and competent?

Using these criteria, group participants can identify the areas in which a person or group is or is not trustworthy (this can be done anonymously).  Assign a numerical value, such as 1-5, for the amount of trust present.  If the trust level is 4 or above, it is probably safe to proceed.  If the level of trust is 3 or below, this indicates more inquiry and trust building activities are needed.

The importance of trust was mentioned numerous times in the conversations, with specific examples in the AUS, Uganda and Guatemala conversations.  Trust is vital to building relationships, to working together and to believing in others.  And, “delegating to other women is how we demonstrate trust and confidence that other women can do many things,” said a participant in Mabilia’s Guatemala Conversation.

   Although none of the women knew each other they were comfortable sharing and when one woman commented that she didn’t have any friends, the other women chimed in with ‘Yes you do!’ really making it clear bonding had occurred in the two hours we spent together.

– Romajean, Muckleshoot Convener

Group Identity

Think of your group as a container where you set the direction for the kind of change and outcome you desire.  Early focus on establishing collective values, norms and guiding principles will play an important role in creating a space where the group feels enabled to learn and work together.  From here, there are a number of methodologies, processes, and practices that can help further identify and sustain the collective group. The key is to use processes and practices that include everyone and enhance collective participation.

Creating Gracious Space

 

Gracious Space is a methodology and practice developed by the Center for Ethical Leadership in Seattle, Washington that helps develop group identity and facilitates change with integrity.  This method focuses on bringing one’s best self, inviting diversity of thought and approach, and learning together.  When undertaken with openness and trust, the methodology reliably builds an environment for positive group process.  It provides a way to achieve the solid foundation needed to work well together.

The Gracious Space methodology introduces four main elements for creating a strong group process.  These are: a spirit, a setting, inviting the ‘stranger’ and learning in public.

The spirit of Gracious Space refers to intentionally creating a supportive environment for the work.  This means individuals need to pay attention to how we show up, our manner, and our outlook.  We each carry many qualities that enable us to create supportive environments, such as compassion, honesty, curiosity and humor.  When we intentionally bring these attributes to life with others, we activate the spirit of Gracious Space.  Groups, by extension, possess a collective spirit.  The group’s spirit of Gracious Space shows up in how group members relate to each other, interact with others outside the group, and get work done.  Too often groups assume that getting down to business is the most effective use of their time, and they give little time or attention to how they are together.  Groups can intentionally create a positive environment for their work together by focusing on and naming their group’s spirit of Gracious Space.

The setting of Gracious Space is simply the physical environment where the work takes place.  The physical arrangement of the room needs to match the goal of the meeting.  For example, if we want participants to interact, we set the chairs in a circle or around a table rather than in classroom or lecture format.  Pay attention to simple hospitality (food, drink, room temperature) and provide items that augment the energy and reflect the personality of the group (art, music, natural beauty).   Setting also has an aspect of time to it.  Often meetings come to a close just as the real discussion starts.  Plan meetings with adequate time available so the group can productively engage each other.

Inviting the ‘stranger’ means we invite the other, whether that is a person or idea.  Inviting the stranger is a strategic and assertive posture that requires us to be open to learning from difference, not simply tolerating it, and that we see difference as valuable information that can add to our understanding of the issue.  And, while difference can often feel like conflict, wise leaders can help groups use difference as an opportunity to learn and open up more possibilities.  We need the stranger when we are considering complex and new ideas, lest we make narrow-minded decisions or take actions with only short-term benefits.

Learning in public means judging less, listening more, and being willing to change our minds – while we are in conversation with others.  It means letting go and opening up to possibility.  If we want our groups to innovate and collaborate better, participants need to learn from each other.  When we hold tightly to viewpoints, we crowd out the ability to be influenced by others.  When we hold closely to expertise, we stop listening to the insights in others’ experiences.  Our judgments and assumptions about others lock them (and us) into a rigid box.

Gracious Space creates the space to engage in deep listening – with a commitment to learning – with the diverse group we have gathered.  These four elements of Gracious Space create conditions for people to be fully alive, fully engaged and fully present.  Creativity and break-through solutions emerge when people come together with different perspectives and gifts, into a safe space of joy and connectedness, with the intent of learning and being their best together.  For more information on benefits, use and activities on Gracious Space visit the website at http://ethicalleadership.org/programs/gracious-space.

Shared Group Values

Another methodology to identify group identity is to take a group through a values clarification exercise.  In the self-care section, we described a way to identify personal values.  Groups can replicate that same exercise.  Using the same initial values list, add a few values that are important to the work of the group.  These could include justice, spirituality, friendship, accountability, results, collaboration, care, service, joy, respect, or any other value.  With this larger list, ask each individual to choose their top eight, then from that set choose five, then three, then finally narrow their individual selection to two core values.  Ask individuals to share their top two core values aloud with each other, and keep track of how many times each value is mentioned.

When every participant has shared, go back and see how many people have indicated the same value words in their top two.  Ask people to stand for the value that was most often mentioned.  For example, if five people said the value “love” is one of their top two, ask people to stand for love.  Five people will stand.  Then figure out which value was the second most mentioned and ask people to stand for that one, and so on, until all people in the group are standing.   These values that the group stands for (literally!) then become the shared values of the group.  When these values are discovered, the group can have conversations about what these values mean, how the values show up in behaviors, decisions, actions and policies, and how these values contribute to their group identity.

Learning Together

When groups engage in learning openly together, everyone gets smarter and the work becomes more beneficial to participants and recipients alike.  The women in the Conversations collectively made over 40 references to the desire for increased training.  This Project is all about learning, so it is appropriate to share some tools for helping groups learn together.

Mind Mapping

The Kitchen Cabinet used this tool quite a bit in its work to design the conversations, to record the results of the Conversations, to imagine the design of the Summit, and to learn together.  Mind mapping is a transparent, inclusive way to generate and arrange a large variety of ideas or information in a non-linear visualization.  It can hold a list of steps, issues, trends or baseline information.  It can help groups name and see relationships between complex ideas or situations.  Sometimes having a graphic representations of our concerns helps us get appropriate distance so we can think more clearly. Mind mapping is best used when your purpose is to engage everyone in building a collective map of what they individually believe to be the issues.  The outcome is a visual pattern of relationships and linkages between ideas, and ownership of the information because everyone participated in creating the map.  A mind map is not useful if you want to generate a single solution to a specific issue, nor is it a useful technology for hiding or hoarding information!

It’s so important to promote gender equality, to change the culture of ignorance and promote the values. 

– Mabilia, Guatemala Convener

The following are the basic steps for mind mapping:

1. Prepare a central question.  This question is prepared in advance based on what the group needs to think about.  Write the question in the middle of a large sheet of paper and circle it.  Describe the technique to the group.  Begin by sharing some guidelines, such as:

  • All ideas are valid
  • Person who names issue says where it goes
  • Opposing ideas are okay
  • Give concrete examples
  • Similar or same ideas okay

2.  Invite and record ideas.  Write ideas either as a “trunk” that comes off the central question or as a “branch” off the trunk idea.  Have the person who initiated the idea tell you where it goes and how it is phrased.  Invite group members to say ideas while you write on the “map.”  If two of you can do the writing the process goes faster. Try using different colors for each trunk, and use the same color for branches off the main trunk.  Make sure you get concrete examples and writing them next to the idea.  It’s okay to have similar or the same ideas in two or more places.  You might want to circle and connect them.

3.  Stop and reflect on the map.  Depending upon the purpose of the mind mapping session, you might want to ask the group to prioritize or sequence the information on the mind map, using dot voting. You may also want to assist the group in reflecting on or interpreting the mind map through discussion and questions.  Some sample questions might be:

    • What stands out for you?
    • What patterns are you seeing?
    • How do you feel when you scan the mind map?
    • What seems most significant?

Circle Process

 

Circle is another methodology that was used as a primary means of sharing and learning in this Project.  Circle processes bring people together for conflict resolution, healing, support, decision making or other collective goals.  Circles are ideal for addressing issues where honest communication, relationship development, and community building are valued and desired.  Circles are guided by values and principles. Each circle develops its own values and principles, and, according to internationally recognized circle keeper Kay Pranis, all circles:

  • are designed by those who use them
  • are guided by a shared vision
  • call participants to act on their personal values
  • encourage exploring instead of conquering differences
  • make space for each participant’s interests
  • offer everyone an equal, and voluntary, opportunity to participate
  • maintain respect for all participants
  • invite accountability to each other and to the process

In the circle, all participants, regardless of role or status, age or experience, are considered of equal importance, with equal voice.  Everyone in the circle is invited to speak and listen from the heart, or to initiate silence.  No one sits above or below others, or outside of the circle.  The circle is inclusive.  Even the circle keeper participates in the circle, in addition to facilitating the process.  A circular seating arrangement and the use of a talking piece help define the process. While circles vary somewhat in style and structure, they all seek to cultivate a climate of mutual respect and caring that is value-oriented and heart-based, that engages the emotions as well as the mind.

The basic steps of circle are as follows:

  • Welcome & Introductions
  • Opening & Orientation
  • Narratives/Storytelling
  • Exploring Options & Creating Agreements
  • Closing

World Cafe

 

The challenges of life require us to find new ways to access the wisdom and intelligence inherent in groups.  World Café Conversations are an intentional way to create an inclusive, living network of conversation around questions that matter to the group.  Café Conversations can enable participants to create a common purpose, share knowledge, make more intelligent decisions, and call forth life-affirming action together.  A Café Conversation is a creative process for individual and group learning, collaborative dialogue, sharing knowledge and creating possibilities for action in groups of all sizes.

The methodology of the World Café is simple: you create a gathering place that has the feel of a café and let participants break into small continually changing groups to discuss a given issue.  The work space is set up like a café, with tables for four to eight people, tablecloths or simply flip charts or butcher paper, colored pens and, if desired, candles, quiet music and refreshments (like a real café).  People are invited to go to different tables during (typically) three rounds for a series of conversations, each round lasting 20-45 minutes.

One person remains at each table as the host, while the others travel to different tables for the three rounds.  Participants engage in the central question, capturing their key ideas in words or pictures on the flip chart paper on the table.  At the end of the round, participants move randomly to a new table for a second round of the same question.  Table hosts welcome newcomers and share the essence of that tables’ conversation so far.  The newcomers relate any conversational threads that they are carrying – and then the conversation continues, deepening as the round progresses.  This process repeats a third time.

At the end of the third round, participants return to their original table to review the information that has emerged on the large pieces of paper.  With the group’s help, the table host prepares a summary of key emerging themes, insights, and learnings. These are shared with the whole group, during a harvest, captured on flipcharts or other means for making the collective intelligence and patterns visible to everyone.  At this point the Café may end, or continue with another round.

One of the keys to a successful World Cafe is finding the right questions.  In World Café, the formulation of powerful questions is a fundamental art and skill. Some questions that open up possibility include: “What’s important to you about this situation, and why do you care?” and “What are we not seeing (or talking about) that is vital to our progress?”  If you (as planner or host) don’t know what question(s) are right for a particular Café, you can first ask: “What question, if answered, could make the greatest difference to the future of the situation we’re exploring here?”

Working in Networks

Many of the groups participating in this Project spoke about networking and the importance of connecting with current allies as well as meeting new people who could help in their work.  The Vietnam Women’s Union in particular, is a complex and deliberate network of relationships and roles.  And in the Muckleshoot Conversation, “We have come to the realization that we do work daily to invest in our community, and with the support of each other we can further our network, resources, and skills to broaden the scope of work possible.  All of us want to meet again and are excited to see the work book.”

Many women recognize networking as a valuable leadership tool, and see it as essential in mobilizing community action.  Some felt networking was difficult for them to do, partly because of the time-consuming nature of meeting new people, partly because they feel shy or introverted in public.

Loosely defined as  “a social structure of individuals and groups,” human networks are how humans have related and organized themselves since ancient times.  In many ways networking is a very natural skill for women.  We lead through relationships and it is common for us to reach out to others – whether asking our friends how they make delicious cakes or asking a co-worker to help us use a new computer program.  However, reaching out to those we do not know, is, for some of us, more challenging. (Meehan and Reihelt, 2012).

The good news is that networking can be about connecting more intentionally with those you already know.   Networking is a process that starts with the known and moves gently to the unknown.  If you are concerned about the litter on the school yard where your child goes to school, and you know that it will be important to engage people who are leaders in the community, you do not go to those leaders at first.  At first, you go to your friend who also has a child at the school. You talk together about creating a clean, inviting environment around the school.  You identify other people who might be interested and talk with them about your idea.  Before you end the conversation, ask this person who else in the community she or he knows that would be interested in this project.  When you contact this person, you tell her that your mutual friend suggested you contact her.  You are continually connecting with others – who may be new to you – but with whom you have a mutual friend or acquaintance.

In the academic world, network principles have begun to gain attention among leadership scholars and practitioners interested in methods for shared leadership, where power, information and decisions are shared by the group which cares most about the work.  Defined in this way, a network is a set of relationships characterized by high levels of trust, reciprocity, and sense of community.  These networks feature strong ties with others who care about the same issues, and weak ties with people across boundaries, from different perspectives, regions or organizations, who are a rich source of new ideas, information, and resources. (Meehan and Reihelt, 2012).

The traditional leadership models define the currency, or the way things get done, as the professional staff, the “fuel” as cash, and the accountability as a hierarchal process.  By comparison, network approaches are grounded in the currency of relationships, the fuel for getting work done is people’s passion, and the accountability is to others in the network.  Networking enables leaders to bring people together who care about the work, who want to get things done in relationship with others, and who share accountability because they are passionate about the work.  Networking approaches are particularly useful when:

  • the problem is big, involving many individuals and organizations
  • we need new ideas and strategies from innovators and connectors
  • the solution is not clear and we need to build a new system, through experiments, partnerships and self-organized solutions
  • we need to engage people from different backgrounds

Networking fully supports our self-care by expanding our relationships in ways that build our confidence rather than finding ourselves in situations where we feel insecure or uncomfortable.  It helps us skillfully use group process by connecting people who share a common interest, increasing energy for potential action.  It helps us achieve tasks by discovering others who share our passion or concern about a situation.

Staying on the Path

             Many of the Conversations highlight ways the women persevere in the face of disappointment, conflict or the slowness of change.  Staying on the path is an important aspect of leadership.  For example, Edith in Burkina Faso told of a girl in high school whose parents could no longer afford to send her to school, so she migrated, alone, to a neighboring country, causing her family much worry.  “Many girls often abandon school at a young age because of ignorance, customs, and because their parents lack of financial means,” she said.  “My country is making efforts to keep girls in school. But, the needs are great and there is still a lot to do.  I would like to be someone who works every day to help girls be educated and to reach their full potential.”  Edith demonstrates the quality of resilience, being able to recover from misfortune or adjust to change over time, with hope and determination.  Like Edith, all of the women in these Conversations are finding ways to stay on the path.  This section addresses some tools and approaches for helping groups to stay on the path.

Approaching Conflict through Inquiry

The fact that we are all different creates potential for conflict in any group experience.  The challenge is to use conflict as an opportunity to build understanding and to broaden possibilities for positive change, rather than allowing differences of opinion to become a destructive influence.  The group needs to hold an appreciation for diversity along with developing listening skills to understand others’ points of view.  Groups need tools to help us understand each other, make decisions to move forward, and have difficult conversations on things that matter, respectfully.  How we communicate and participate as members and leaders of these conversations has as much impact on effectiveness of the collective group as personal motivation.

A powerful, but often overlooked, leadership tool is asking good questions.  Questions generate power.  When we make statements, we express a perspective, an understanding or an idea.  Each statement is limited to the particular perspective expressed.   Questions, on the other hand, open us to possibilities.  The word question derives from the root word, “quest,” means that we literally are on a search.  We are exploring.  Questions enable us to explore what’s possible, and to create power by engaging others, by inviting additional perspectives and different ways of seeing a situation, the different possibilities and new opportunities.

Leadership by asking powerful questions is a valuable skill and tool that can be developed through practice.  The first step is to recognize there are several types of questions. First, there are questions that end in a question mark, but really they are disguised statements or judgments: You’re not going to do that, are you?  Other questions satisfy our own curiosity or understanding: What do you mean by that?  And others try to lead people to a pre-determined conclusion or our own point of view: Isn’t there a way to do this that costs half as much?  Many of these type of questions begin with do, can, will and result in a yes/no answer.

In this Project, one of the significant influencers on the Conversation process and design taken by the Kitchen Cabinet is Appreciative Inquiry.  Developed by David Cooperrider of Case Western Reserve University, Appreciative Inquiry is a process that can be used by groups to generate emergent insights that deepen and gain power as they are revisited in ever widening circles.

Appreciative Inquiry finds out what’s working and fans the flame!  This approach takes the position of starting from a positive point of view versus focusing on what is deficient or broken.  Questions in Appreciative Inquiry would include: What is working well on this project? Who cares about what we are doing?  When are times that we are collaborating well?  What are examples for how we have successfully managed difficulty in the past?  Appreciative Inquiry avoids the downward spiral that often accompanies a problem-solving approach. Effort and attention are shifted to identifying desirable outcomes and designing a more energizing and motivating experience. This model uses the art of asking questions as a means to foster positive relationships and build on the present potential.  The Appreciative Inquiry process consists of four stages:

  • Discovery: The best of what is… gather learning about positive images & actions, and identify organizational processes that work well;
  • Dream: What might be… generalize learning into envisioning processes that would work well in the future;
  • Design: What should be… “translate,” plan and prioritize processes into actions & social capital;
  • Destiny or Deliver: What will be… implement the proposed design, innovating and creatively adapting as the path unfolds.

The basic set-up for Appreciate Inquiry begins by putting people into pairs to share a story about the key question.  This pair then merges with another pair, and they introduce each other by means of re-telling their partner’s stories.  They also listen for themes, patterns and conditions that made the story possible.  The group of four then joins another group of four, and shares insights about the themes and patterns in the conditions and assets that made the stories possible. The “top” stories and repeating patterns are shared with the whole group.  An overall pattern of assets and condition that support the key question and movement forward are generated during the large-group session.

This is a great tool when faced with differences of opinion, and when working with a group to shift from a blaming, negative conversation cycle into a positive, celebratory conversation.  It reinforces the power of what works versus the power of criticism.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  Originated by Albert S. Humphrey in the 1960’s, SWOT was traditionally used for strategic planning for businesses.  More recently it has been used as a tool to focus on the internal strengths and weaknesses of a group, as well as the external opportunities and threats provided by the world at large.  Focused on group work and mission, it has proven to be a flexible tool for identifying group strategy with wisdom and intention.

Internal StrengthsWhat advantages do we have?What can we do better than anyone else? WeaknessesWhat could we improve?What should we avoid?
External Opportunities What trends are we aware of?What good opportunities do we see? ThreatsWhat obstacles are in our way?What barriers are impeding us?

 

Strengths and weaknesses take an internal perspective on the interpersonal dynamics, organizational climate, brand, reputation with constituents, generation of ideas and access to resources.  Opportunities and threats may reveal things “out there” that can be leveraged for growth or may result in less business or ease of operation, such as new technology, changes in markets or governmental regulations in the field, changes in social patterns, population profiles, lifestyle changes or local events.

The SWOT provides information that helps match the resources and capabilities of the organization to the environment in which it operates, and is instrumental in strategic prioritization and direction.  The SWOT can become a strategic approach to turn weaknesses into strengths, leverage opportunities and mitigate potential threats.  Groups can use it at different times to realistically assess how they are doing and what factors may help or hinder their work.

This points to the usefulness of the SWOT analysis as a tool for determining a group’s plans for training.  The analysis can help the group members gain insight into the skills and capabilities already present in the group as well as what possible opportunities or threats might exist, enabling the group to form a big picture for building strategy and determining activities to further their own learning.

ICA Communication model: ORID

The Discussion Method by the Institute of Cultural Affairs is an approach used around the world by NGO’s and community groups for maximizing participation, clear communication and group effectiveness. The Discussion Method is called ORID, referring to a process that is sequentially Objective, Reflective, Interpretive and Decisional.  ORID is based on a natural thinking process that mimics the way the mind functions, moving from sensory stimuli to action.  For this reason, people adapt to it very quickly, and readily see how their thinking can become action. (Spencer, 1989).

The facilitator asks a series of four questions that help move the group from the “what,” to the “so what” of making meaning, to the “now what” of taking action.  The first question gathers Objective facts of people’s experiences. What did you see, hear, touch, smell, taste?  What word, phrase, or image stands out for you as you think about this?  What happened?  If you could make a movie of it, what would the main plot be?  Each person responds with a short sentence.

The second question asks participants to Reflect on the emotions, feelings and associations.  When did you get emotionally engaged?  What angered, excited, intrigued or frightened you? What past associations do you have to this particular issue?

Through the first two questions, each person has been listening quietly to each of the others in the group.  At this point every person in your group has spoken twice.  Each person has had the opportunity to “listen inside” to her own insight or experience, and to share that with the group.  The group, as a whole, has access to both the images or words held in the minds of each person, and the emotions that have been ignited and shared.  At this point more meaningful interaction with one another can occur.

The third question asks for Interpretation, to make meaning and purpose and assign value. What is the meaning of this experience/goal/concern for us?  How does it relate to what we know about our community?  What is the significance that people attach to the subject?  The conversation now flows without constraint, with persons sharing their thoughts and feelings, listening to one another, building on what others say.  This process of creating shared meaning is the essence of emergence.  It is what enables a group of individuals to generate common understanding.  It helps a group to engage collectively and prepares the way for taking action.

The final question asks for a Decision.  What action might we want to take individually or collectively about this experience, goal or concern?  What is our relationship to the topic and the discussion, and where do we go from here?  At this point a group may find it possible to create a shared vision or goal that members can support.  Or it may become clear that certain individuals have clear goals they want to pursue and that others can support them in those individual efforts.

A sample of questions could look like this:

Objective Reflective Interpretive Decisional
What scenes do you recall?What bits of conversation?How many people were there?What did you observe? What was your response?Where do you remember the whole group reacting?How did you feel when that happened? What is this movie about?What were the most significant events?How was this important to you/us?Which action would be first priority? What would you say about this event to someone who was not here?How does this event affect tomorrow?What change is needed?What is the resolve of this group?

Conclusion

            We have outlined several general processes for holding, creating and activating change within an intentional group process.  These include coming together and building trust, learning together and staying on the path.  There are many tools to support groups as they move through these stages of working collaboratively, including Gracious Space, shared values clarification, circle process, Mind Mapping, World Café, Appreciative Inquiry, SWOT and the ORID Discussion Method.   We can see the benefit of adopting these tools and processes to build predictability, enable collaboration and build a collective consciousness that integrates safety, integrity and trust into the life of the group.