Re: Forming a Group LO2722

Tobin Quereau (
Sun, 10 Sep 1995 18:21:09 -0500 (CDT)

Replying to LO2710 --

Hi, Bill. As I read your posting on forming this group, an additional
assumption and an additional possibility came to mind. I send them along
here for your consideration as comments on your original message.

On Fri, 8 Sep 1995, Bill Mitchell wrote:

> I am "leading" a project team that is forming this week and next week. My
> team has been given a time-boxed deliverable of Dec 31 to be completed.
> The time box will force my team of 8 people to limit the detail in some of
> our deliverable and the complexity of the project will force us to draw in
> people from other parts of the company to provide their expertise. My
> current thoughts on the group formation is that the 8 people on the core
> team will be responsible for "leading" the working groups that draw in the
> subject matter experts (SME). The working groups will investigate the
> particular problem they are assigned and then present options back to the
> core team. The core team will be responsible for selecting the final
> option so that the overall project is optimized and not just one
> component. Two of us on the core team have background with LO concepts. In
> particular we see a real potential for the use of dialogue and the ladder
> of inference. We are already using causal loop diagrams. Enough
> background?

> Question: In order to form an environment for dialogue to begin to take
> place what is the minimum number of assumptions that need understanding
> and enrollment. My early thoughts would point toward two:
> 1) We all want the project to provide the best result that we can
> produce.
> 2) Everyone is acting rationally toward that goal.

To this list I would add:

3) Everyone's contribution is worthy of attention.

> Therefore when there is a difference of opinion we can trace it to one of
> two causes:
> 1) People have different levels of knowledge about the topic and
> so we need to educate each other so that we possess the same understanding
> of the characteristics of the problem.
> 2) We have different assumptions about what is important and we
> need to explore the assumptions so that we can all learn and grow
> together.

Here I would suggest that differences of opinion can very profitably come
3) differing _perspectives_ of the "problem" and that this is not
quite the same as assumptions and is probably as valuable to explore.
This is linked perhaps to my earlier point about everyone's contribution
being worthy of attention. If the core group is able to adequately capture
and examine the various "perspectives" of the experts, themselves, and
others, my sense is that the illumination of the core issues will be more
thorough and more fruitful as well. Often what is needed most when
confronted with a "problem" is a new perspective which turns it into an
opportunity or a resource.

>I admit that my thinking is early on this topic. But unfortunately the
>business world does not wait for optimal solutions. So we are going to
>press ahead. Anyone care to wade in and provide some insights?

How about someone else's "perspective". Come on in, the water's fine!

Tobin Quereau