Strategies

Different tracks for off-line discussions

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  1. The “Honoring” track
    When the facilitator meets with individuals because of their stature, or because they are behaving awkwardly in a meeting, the main objective is to honor the person(s) by getting to know them and seeking to understand who they are and what’s important to them. Often this conversation does not lead to a negotiation. Rather, it results in the person(s) feeling honored.At times, the company executive, in the capacity of facilitator, might decide to provide some assistance — whether financial or other—that supports the individual(s) in their pursuit of a community goal; this occurs when the support would be important to demonstrate the sponsor’s respect for the individual(s) and their group’s work. At other times, the facilitator may conclude that a sincere effort to converse with the person(s) and understand them is all that is needed.
  2. The “Group Education” track
    Occasionally, someone raises a subject—whether in the meeting or away from the meeting—that the facilitator wants to understand better because it might influence the group’s problem solving. The facilitator might then proceed to meet with the person(s) off‐line to gain a better sense of the issue— after which, the facilitator and the individual(s) would bring the issue back to the meeting, where it would be discussed in a clearer way.
  3. The “Negotiation” track
    This track can go in one of three ways:
    • Negotiation is done off‐line, decisions are made off‐line, and the group hears the results. (This is not common, because it can undermine the group.)
    • Negotiation is done off-line—leading to an agreement about a foundational principle, or a core element of the giveback, or a framework. The basic idea is brought back to the group, where there is further discussion—led by the proponents of that idea—so that the group comes to endorse it. The specifics are then negotiated off‐line. (The group might propose some specifics during the large‐group discussion which may be accepted or taken under advisement.)
    • An offer is made off‐line, responsive to some part of the whole‐group discussion.

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