Coalition membership

Good Group Tips


In principle, coalitions are held together by belief in a common cause. Membership is often flexible and responsive to coalition positions.

The strongest coalitions are unanimous in every vote; each member fully supportive of every position. Sometimes a member may stand in the way of the coalition’s desires; called a veto, which is fine once in a great while. Even the strongest coalitions compromise occasionally to hold the group together.

Yet when a member repeatedly blocks or disagrees with others, it’s probably time to adjust the membership of the coalition. Those that don’t agree, consistently, don’t belong.

Practical Tip: Go for “unanimous” on every decision. Publicly support, as a coalition, only those things that each of you support. Use vetoes very sparingly.

Let the edges of membership be defined by the members’ agreements with each other. If you generally agree on what the coalition has done and where it’s headed, stay or join. If you don’t generally agree, leave or don’t join.

Do not let just one or two disagreeable members hold up coalition action over and over again. It’s okay to kick someone out of a coalition because they consistently don’t agree with what everyone else wants to do. And it’s okay to invite new members who are consistently supportive.

Make others look good

Good Group Tips

In principle, a good team is a group of people who try to make each other look good. Harry Truman said, “It’s amazing how much we can do if we don’t care who gets the credit.” Similarly, we can spend huge amounts of energy caring about who gets the blame. To make good group decisions we support each other going forward and we give credit for success to the group.

Practical Tip: Give your ideas and efforts to the group, without conditions, without lingering ownership. Show public appreciation for others in your group. Own your share of things gone wrong and share credit with others for things gone right.

– Craig Freshley

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My responsibility

Good Group Tips

In principle, when we are part of a group we are apt to expect the group or other members of the group to do things on our behalf. When faced with a problem to be solved or a task to be done we might think, “someone else will take care of it.” This seems different from being independent where every problem and every task is “my responsibility.” Group belonging creates the illusion of group responsibility. But it is an illusion. Still, it is “my responsibility.”

When group members give up responsibility to the group as a whole, the group doesn’t get anything done.

We can spend a lot of time and energy wishing our group was different, complaining about our group, questioning other group members about their ways. But there is only one question that leads to real change: “What am I going to do about it?”

Practical Tip: Don’t just talk about how things should change. BE the change that you want for your group, for your world. Don’t just wish that problems were solved and tasks were done. Do things.

– Craig Freshley

Click here for one-page PDF of this Tip, a great way to print or share.

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