Re: Forming a Group LO2741

Bill Mitchell (
Mon, 11 Sep 1995 18:32:39 -0500

Replying to LO2716 --

>Bill, there is an approach to assumptions that is frequently useful when
dialogue >is a significant component.

Can you share the approach?

>There are always assumptions an presuppositions which are unsaid and
generally >considered "negative". With the approach that you enunciate, I
don't see them >becoming part of the dialogue and therefore a significant
force will likely be >missed.

I see the positive assumptions laying the groundwork for the exploration
of the negative assupmtions. My thought process was that the two core
assumptions could provide the basis for an environment where, when
different conclusions/ recommendations/thoughts are presented, we can
explore why the people came to different conclusions. Hopefully the result
is that different views would be placed in the open where we can
thoughtfully consider them. I can see dialogues taking place that would
illuminate some of the "negative" assumptions. In fact the primary
"target" is probably the negative assumptions.

>Are these valid assumptions? At least some of the team is very likely to
>either not share these fully or to have contradictory ones even though
>they agree with the two assumptions stated.
>What about, "I want to look good" or "I have a particular way that I want
>some part of this to be done that I've already decided is best"?

I would anticipate that the team would subscribe to the assumptions up
front but that in the heat of discussion would lose sight of the
assumptions. At that point the facilitator could use the subscribed
assumptions to re-establish an environment of dialogue where further
investigation could take place. I would consider it significant progress
to be able to record most of the "material" assumptions/etc that guided
our thought processes.

I am not so naive as to think that this process will bring out all of the
assumptions/principles/beliefs/etc. There will be people with personal
agendas that will attempt to guide the process in their own direction.
They will need to be handled on an exception basis. I am looking for a
process that will work for the majority of the people who want the project
to succeed.

>A dialogue is not a rational process - it is a process of full human

In the pure sense I agree with you. Unfortunately I am working on a
project that IS a rational process and therefore I need to develop a model
that will provide a rational (rational = known structure capable of
producing repeatable results? Would efficient be a better word?) form of
dialogue. When I build a model I recognize that I lose some of the purity
from the "real thing". What I want to avoid is involuntarily losing a
material factor (Material factor - one that makes a significant
difference) that I could have included in the model at reasonable cost.
Note: I can see intentionally leaving out material factors if the cost is
higher than the benefit, I would call that a "known risk". I am looking
for 80% of the benefit at 20% of the cost.