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Generative Decision Making
How to Run the GDM Process
The GDM process is most often used for Governance meetings but can be used for other decisions. Often a preliminary proposal will also be shared with Circle members.
The following is a basic structure for GDM:
At the beginning of the meeting a facilitator is selected. This individual should be relatively neutral with respect to the topic and cannot be the proposer of a topic. If necessary, facilitator roles can shift from topic to topic.
The topic proposer provides background/context for the proposal, their perspective on why they would like to make this change, why they think this proposal best suits their needs, or speaks to anything else they feel is noteworthy. The circle members have an open discussion and once the facilitator feels that the topic is ripe enough for a proposal we move to step 3.
If the facilitator doesn’t feel an idea is ripe enough for consent or believes that additional off-line conversations are required, they can suggest delaying the proposal to a future meeting. Ripeness of an idea does not require that all members can see the ripeness.
Bulletproofing can be a useful tool to help develop or clarify a proposal, it also helps to establish a higher level of psychological safety. It works best in groups of no more than 3 or 4 people, the goal is to provide answers to the following questions to help draft the proposal: * What challenges do we see with the draft proposal? * What innovations or ideas to improve it could we propose? * What help can we offer?
In this section the proposer will state their proposal and share it visually with the team. Every proposal needs to include a reference to potential cost, revenue and/or efficiency implications of the proposal.
Note that a proposal should, ideally, come from a real experience/opportunity sensed in one of the PROPOSER’S roles in the group.
Participants ask the proposer questions to better understand the proposal. This is significantly different than offering suggestions and/or reactions to the proposal. Typically, a clarifying question seeks to understand data or facts (e.g. “what is a situation that led to the creation of this proposal?,” “to what extent has the proposal considered the impact to X role?,” etc.). The proposer may respond with “not specified”, if the proposal doesn’t specifically address the question.
In this section everybody in the meeting, except the proposer, has an opportunity to share their reactions to what is proposed. This could be feelings, suggestions for improvement, etc. Anything goes. There will NOT be dialogue or discussion in this round.
The proposer is advised to listen deeply and take notes as they will have an opportunity to integrate the feedback of their colleagues in the next round.
Should participants feel that the proposal would cause ETG harm or move it backwards, they should offer a suggestion for what could be amended to this proposal to reconcile that.
The proposer has an opportunity to amend the original proposal or not. The proposal, whether amended or not, will be made clear before moving to the next step. There is also no dialogue or discussion in this round.
After reminding everyone that an objection must meet the criteria of “causing harm or moving us backwards,” the facilitator asks if there are any objections or if the proposal is safe enough to try..
The facilitator determines if any objection is valid. If it is valid, the proposer integrates the objection into the proposal by modifying the proposal. Once an objection has been processed, the facilitator moves on to other objections and repeats this process until no objections remain
If all attempts to integrate fail (at the discretion of the Facilitator in light of time, emotional hostility, etc.), the proposer and those holding objections will engage in a conflict resolution process outside of the current meeting. If integration can't be agreed on, the proposal won’t be allowed to pass.
Note: A proposal shouldn’t be blocked just because it isn’t ‘liked,’ or because others think they have a better idea. The litmus question is: “Is this proposal safe enough to try” (seeking trust and emphasizing meaningful action over perfection) which is different than “Does everybody like this proposal” (seeking consensus and, in turn, compromise).
All participants will review the updated proposal and signal “thumbs up,” “thumbs down” to indicate that the proposal is safe enough try (or not). Should there still be “thumbs down” then the Facilitator will circle back to step 7 and repeat Step 8 until all are “thumbs up.” At this time the proposal is adopted.
After a proposal is adopted, the facilitator is responsible for identifying a person to notify those impacted or for Governance issues a representative to update Sobol to reflect the accepted change. The facilitator should ask if this decision needs to be reviewed in 3, 6 or 9 months and the facilitator needs to track this.