Make Decisions with a Group

Group Learning Workshop

Why Group Learning and Decision Making?

This workshop was suggested by attendees of last year’s Resilience Summit. They saw this as a topic that would help both organizations and community groups create a greater impact with their work.

Leading groups is key for resilience. We’ve seen a lot of community stakeholder groups emerge since the floods including watershed coalitions, emergency preparedness groups, and climate change impact committees. In addition to these initiatives, we are collectively acknowledging the need to engage a wide variety of people in decision making processes. Recovering from so many disasters in recent years has highlighted the need for strong communication networks, committed inclusivity, and increased trust between our communities.

Workshop Materials

Being comfortable facilitating group decisions means an ability to include diverse opinions. It also means deep listening and ability to engage with different types of learners and personalities. To help with that, we looked at some exercises that would engage right and left brain and help with moving from discussion to decisions.

Activities for your Meetings

Download this great booklet of exercises from the Collective Impact Forum. It offers a wide variety of activities with different lengths and types of content.

Key Learning Points

This power point presentation outlines the key points of group facilitation for learning and decision making.

Best Practices

The group did a great brainstorm on what best practices were for successful group meetings. Here’s what they came up with:

  • Make it interactive! A workshop, not just a meeting.
  • Have a single focus
  • Make sure the group agrees on common goals
  • Have a clear agenda
  • Resolve any issues during the meeting
  • Make sure there is a time constraint
  • Create opportunities for networking and connection
  • Get things done in the meeting: make progress
  • Make sure there are clear next steps
  • Ensure all the necessary data is available
  • Participants are passionate about the subject
  • Encourage brainstorming and collaboration
  • Recognize stories are important and can lead to actionable items
  • Help people be present in the room and in the moment
Facilitation Style
  • Don’t lead, facilitate
  • Use humor to engage
  • Make sure there is no power differential between the facilitator and the group
  • Keep safety and respect for everyone fundamental
  • Value all ideas
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities
  • Encourage collaboration and interaction
  • Take input from all sides
  • Include visual and written props
  • Make sure everyone is comfortable sharing ideas
  • Build motivation to drive action

Visioning Community

And, last, but certainly not least, here are the amazing representations of a “connected community” that the group did as part of the Mental Model exercise!