Group Decision Making Processes

Consensus decision-making requires individuals to go beyond our own way of doing things. We need to be able to see that there can be ways of doing things that would be better than the ways we would naturally be comfortable with. Some of us get caught in the trap of believing that if others do not agree with our way of doing things, then we cannot do it. Can we agree that we can have parallel tracks, or are able to do things in different ways as an experiment to create the best solution? The answer, of course, is our attachment to being right. It indicates that when it comes to groups, we still do not trust the group to come up with its own solutions. It also indicates that we have not completely bonded between our Thoughts and Emotions so we are not sure how to deal with differences in perspective held by others. If we were bonded in our Thoughts and Emotions, we would be able to read the Thoughts and Emotions of others and we would not be threatened at all. 

Groups need alignment as much as people. This requires the full expression of Thoughts and Emotions so that multiple choices can be examined. From the larger picture, humanity is at a crossroads. Ecologically, psychologically and financially. Engineering consensus is obviously the next step on the horizon. This requires learning how to work together so that external differences can be transformed into multiple groups of problem solvers that work on the issue from different perspectives. What this takes initially is a desire to do Mutual Learning. This creates a state of entrainment allowing the full possibilities to be seen and diagrammed by each sub-group. Otherwise, our Personality reactions will be our undoing. The result will be greater resistance, less understanding, and any kind of growth will be sabotaged by others’ fears.

Mutual problem solving is one of the primary dilemmas of our age, and what makes it difficult is the continuum between fully Convergent and fully Divergent decision making styles. Convergent styles seek incremental improvements, day to day by organizing the solution so it can be quickly implemented. Divergent styles seek to explore all the options until they feel inspired to take action by doing the project as completely as possible. Convergent individuals organize and plan while Divergent individuals give themselves time and space to implement options. Convergent individuals want to be predictable and productive while being time-oriented. Divergent individuals want to be different, comprehensive and complete without pre-defining how it should be. Additional confusion arises because of the fragmentation that comes from adopting our parental styles and coping mechanisms (Imprinting).

What makes this more challenging is that we can approach different areas with different decision-making processes. For example, at work we can be more Convergent, while in personal relationships we are more Divergent. The third option refers to our personal creative time, which is usually our true decision-making approach. What are you? More Convergent or more Divergent? We can validate our personal decision-making approach by the degree to which we maintain our Passion and energy, so we do not have to please others. When we are operating in our Imprinting, we are always resistant to any decision-making process. It usually becomes a burden when interacting with others. It takes more energy to interact beyond our natural creative patterns. It is easy when we accept our natural approach and operate in it. At the core of these two styles, our decision-making can be differentiated as either orderly or free-spirited.

There are six Approaches to Decision-Making:

  1. Closed Down — We are heavily Imprinted by our parents and conflicts are not easily resolved. We refuse to make quick choices due to a fear it will be the wrong thing to do. This occurs because we are torn between the desire to please our selves and others in authority. We end up believing we cannot enjoy making decisions because we have no practical experience of how those decisions can make us feel empowered. We would rather defer decisions to others and have them make choices for us so we do not have to be responsible for the outcome.

  2. Switchable Decision-Making — In this situation, usually one parent is Convergent and the other is Divergent, so we learn to make Convergent choices with the Divergent parent and Divergent choices with the Convergent parent. This natural opposition is meant to help the situation by creating a balanced outcome where neither party is completely compromised. This process works well if we can respond the way we want. Unfortunately, we do not feel great about our Decision-Making process, as none of it is really joyful.

  3. Convergent Decision-Making — We like being time-focused so we quickly see the most likely options and get into action on them. The initial goal is to break down the Decision-Making process into a series of steps that get us moving in the right direction. Over time, we apply incremental improvements that refine our Decision-Making as new information becomes available. We are joyful about our Decision-Making when we can plan and implement a project or event. This joy is diminished to the degree that we have Divergent Imprinting.

  4. Divergent Decision-Making — We explore and open up possibilities so everything can be considered. We then investigate, without a timeframe, various options and consider alternative outcomes. When one choice feels appropriate and on the mark it motivates us to jump fully in and attempt to get everything done at once. This flexibility creates joy in us. This joy is diminished to the degree that we have Convergent Imprinting.

  5. Variable Decision-Making — When we grow up attempting to deal with differences in Decision-Making, we learn to mix and match our responses to fit circumstances. This means we sometimes do Convergent responses with Convergent decision makers and Divergent responses with Divergent decision makers. This ability to align with others is usually based on a fluidity and flexibility within ourselves so we do not feel compromised. The degree of compromise establishes the degree to which we can be flexible. Some creative expressions (Story Tellers, Visionaries and Inventors) naturally operate in this way.

  6. Open Ended Decision-Making — When we are not locked into any preconceived Decision-Making patterns, we are available to meet others wherever they are. This means we have acknowledged our own style and have gone beyond it by experiencing joy in all styles. This approach is optimal for leading and managing groups, because we can see what is needed and deliver it without problems.

When we accept and understand our Decision-Making approach, it empowers us to work more effectively with others. Any approach done consciously allows us to notice when something works or does not in our interactions. The more conscious we are about Decision-Making, the more we try to bring harmony to the process by discussing differences to create a consensus approach. Problem solving is one of major ways to bring a group into alignment. The challenge is to right-size the discussion group so everyone can participate in a way that forwards the process. When there are too many individuals in a group, the situation can crawl to a halt. When too few, it does not fully represent the larger community. A first action could be to organize a decision-making group by creating sub-groups that are Convergent and Divergent to discuss the issues. When this occurs the two groups can follow their nature and work out the best options/solutions. They could also select individuals who could represent them in a consensus-building working group. If these discussions were videoed or recorded so that they were transparent, this would result in mutual and fair solutions.

The inner issues of solving these kinds of intractable problems require invoking solutions through concentration, meditation and contemplation. This is greatly enhanced by using the CNG to invite support. By holding our mind steady in the light, we maximize the ability of the universe or anyone we admire to bring in relevant insights or perspectives. We can do this by visualizing the person, the topic, or any other question that is important to us in a five to ten minute process. We could either do this every day, or once a week, with the intention of producing a certain result before the end of the process. We could access any historical, scientific or religious person currently alive or passed that contributed their thought to the universal mind. Since all creative thinkers have a sort of immortality based on making contributions in this way, all the insights of the world are always accessible. The more we can focus on the topic on which we want input, while being receptive to universal knowing or Straight Knowledge, the easier we will access it. A genuine evocation for support or help is seldom denied. The more transpersonal the request is, the more suggestions we will receive, not only for ourselves, but also for others in our group.

Presenting Content Without Positions, Projections or Attachments

If we are to manage Content better, so that in time we attract what we need to know when we need to know it, we need to improve how to declare our Intent. When we are with a group of people, it is best to start by making an Intent statement and following it up with a Context statement. For example, we may say, “We have come here today to solve this particular problem because it will benefit us if we can engage the world in this new way.” What this accomplishes is to focus on the energetic possibility that we need to engage. It also establishes the WorldView level of the discussion at hand when we state what we hope to accomplish in the process. All groups process Content based on Communication Process, Decision Making Approach and WorldView. The more inclusive we are to different ways of communicating and different ways of engaging the decision making, the less difficult and more harmonic the process will be. Content is also greatly affected by differences in Pacing and Defense style. These two factors can have polarizing impacts, which minimize the perceptions of others because they typically shut down when others push their own perspective.

Every type of Creative Expression has its own focus or gift where they rely on Intent, Content or Context to effectively convey their truth. This focus is only modified or amplified by the sequence of a person’s Communication Process. For example, An Inventor, Investigator, Implementer, who is Feel, Act, Think would emphasize Context (Inventor and Feel First), then Intent (Mental Body Implementer and Act Second), and Content last (Investigator Secondary and Think last). This means that this type of individual would do best with more Context up front, more discussion about why we are doing what we are doing, and getting to the details at the end of the process. A group of these individuals would be easy to work with. The problem we encounter is when we have mixed groups, which require us to cycle through Intent, Content and Context, systematically in order to provide opportunities for everyone to understand what is going on.

Another application of CNG is to be able to gather energetic connections into the CNG by using Intent and attractions to Content to make insights and information available to us. This is similar to establishing an Intent and releasing a problem into the world so a solution can show up. While people may not be using a CNG to accomplish this, with a CNG it becomes more possible to know the status of a problem on a moment-to-moment basis. The practice of this process also allows us to bring internal resources into the open. Some individuals have imagined books they want to write, so they become a fully developed metaphor and representation of what they are working to create. The more we can evoke answers from the universe directly by attracting exactly what we need, exactly when we need it, the more we experience the universe supporting us. We recommend imagining an indigo book in the CNG to connect to the universal library.

All this takes is being able to set an Intention, Attract the necessary Content, and engage the process by growing our Context. This whole process is how we become conscious of our deeper gifts. While some people would say that this comes from our inner knowing, we prefer to see it as a gift from the universe for contributing to it. We can expand this experience by imagining that we are doing it in the CNG and that because it is an open CNG, others can share and contribute to this space directly, based on their desires and interests. While it is useful to know all of the people who are contributing to these types of situations, it is not necessary if have set the Intent clearly. Personally, I use this technique in classes to make the right resources energetically available so individuals will be able to engage the process on a deeper level.

We manifest Attractions by using the CNG to precipitate our mutual intentions. For example, if we want to bring about a peaceful world and we have an abiding interest in diplomacy, politics and mediation, we need to begin to creatively empower a CNG space that opens us up to the highest inspirations or insights that can be brought into a particular circumstance, creating a rain cloud of possibilities and resources to emerge out of this inquiry. Any topic, any issue, is ripe for determining how it could best be used in service of the planet. As you might have noticed, we are not trying to manifest money because the wealth of who we are is in our ability to be creative and to empower new thoughts. These opportunities can turn into money when it serves our purpose and fits in with the universe’s idea of what would benefit it. As we can see, the power of thought is the power to affect change in the world to create what will be the best for all.

Our primary tool to awaken others to the problems we need to confront is the right use of creative power. Our ability to unify our Thoughts and Emotions empowers us to both see our Truth and clearly perceive the Truth of others. This allows us to quickly determine mutual solutions. The Light in our Being grows and magnifies, as we become an enlightened brain cell in the mind of the planet. We learn the cost of not seeking our highest knowing, and commit ourselves to doing so. Most importantly, we become indifferent to Subjectification and are no longer impacted by it. Some individuals will develop telepathy at this level of embodiment. Others, depending on their connection to their higher creative source, become more able to download insights and explanations for all kinds of problems. When we transform our Truth and reorganize our perception frameworks, we become a resource of unimagined value.

We must never impose our insights, beliefs or suggestions on others, this action will close down any support. Any Objectification, Subjectification, or Idealization will minimize the flow of support. For those of us who are not comfortable asking for support, perhaps we will be able to accomplish the same thing using our intuitive connection to our Self. Make a request for inner knowing about a topic in order to attract a solution. It is helpful to imagine the way an optimized solution would show up. By focusing on this experience, we can evoke a clear vision of how this can be done. By using the law of attraction, we build bridges, not just between thoughts, but forge connections between people as they engage solutions with us. On an intuitive level, others can greatly stimulate our breakthroughs. It has to do with being able to see and accept the way they think and superimposing it on our own process. In this way, we do not need to wait for the right time for an idea to change the world, because we are changing the world with each connection we make. The way to build consensus is to make sure that each member of the group is aligned as much as possible with the group. Otherwise, non-aligned members will naturally sabotage the process. What we want to do is minimize the dissonance between the people on each level, and then on each new level or area of added activity. Otherwise, a lack of Passion will eventually diminish the growth of our contribution.  

When we gather individuals into a group for the purpose of solving problems, it facilitates the process immensely if we establish a CNG. We do not even need to tell everyone that there is a CNG. Instead, just a few people could ground, stabilize, and manage the CNG for the group. What they need to do is to make sure that everyone’s contribution is acknowledged, and to imagine that all the information is available in the CNG and is easily available to all the members. Then perform some energetic hygiene practices, like clearing the space before starting and closing it down at the end of the process. This type of situation is perfect to practice Spacious Presence, Pregnant Duration and Skillful Means. In Higher Alignment, we do these practices in every class. This makes the information more available in the moment and over time, when students want to remember a past experience. Most individuals who become proficient in CNG will tell you that they don’t know how it works, just that it does.

When we focus on our creative differences, we deny creative self-love and acceptance. The result is that we do not trust things to work out. This leads us to plan for the worst and deny the magic of our creative gifts. We are in Idealization when we project on others or expect them to respond in a particular way. Instead, it is Individual Resourcefulness and the ability to envision how what we are doing can fit into the larger solution. It requires us to tune into the Context so that we possess points of reference for shaping our vision. The paradox is that we want to let go of Defensive Personality differences to embrace larger creative differences that can guide our solution thinking. At this level we tend to attract to us exactly what is needed to discover the best course of action.

The most useful attitude at this level is to acknowledge what is not working so we can quickly move forward to what does work. Self-forgiveness is the capacity to recognize when we are caught in a reaction so we can reframe the experience in a more holistic way. Emotional perceptions are just as important as intellectual ones. The best way to heal ourselves is to see the higher ground that includes the challenges we are facing. We cannot get anywhere by moving the problem around. Mutual Learning helps by keeping the conversation fresh so one partner is always uplifting or honoring the larger Context. In any creative group, at least one or more individual has to be able to invoke the new possibility into being. The important thing is to bring all the insights into relationship with one another. This means we do not argue over the details, and that everything is a detail. This suggests that there is no need to argue at all on this level. Here we see the opposite mirror image of Level 2 (Security Reactions), where we argued all the time! With Mutual Learning, we are always coming from a unified state.

Deepening into our greater knowing takes Trust. We are not caught up in the fear that the solution will be unsolvable. Instead, we want to be confident that every time we need to remake our vision, we can easily redefine our part in it to serve both the organization and ourselves. Our biggest obstacle is to believe that change will make us obsolete. The underlying fear is that we may be overwhelmed by its complexity. Greater consciousness is always the answer to greater complexity. When we can accept that we have a creative destiny that is always supporting us to be the best we can be, we no longer need to be fearful about external change. It is normal that some individuals will outgrow the organization by being drawn to another possibility. We need to encourage people to follow their own hearts so our personal fears do not become a limitation that keep us from fully participating in the organization’s growth.

We do not need to personalize our knowing. Many individuals equate information with power because they personalize the decision-making process. When we do comparative thinking, we build our ego and become identified with the Thoughts we have. This limits our ability to move and grow with the organization or Universe. The more we identify with what we know, the more it builds our defensive identity, which makes us appear more stupid. We cannot respond appropriately to circumstances if we are attached to the Positions we hold. This is because any attachment to a position prevents us from seeing the larger picture. Positions limit our thinking and guarantee conflict. The more Transpersonal we become, the less we are attached to any form of personal, egoic identifications. This means we primarily operate in Unity thinking, unless others need to be valued or seen on the Comparative (Level 3), Deductive (Level 2) or Associative Thinking (Level 1) frameworks. We can eliminate a lot of distractions if we acknowledge individuals where they need acknowledgment.

Until now, we have focused on the neutral aspect of a CNG. In Level 6, we let go of the dualities of our truth so we can operate completely from Wisdom. This means we are no longer doing any form of Objectification, Subjectification or Idealization. This empowers us channel resources into the Common Ground without creating reactions with others. Others, are, of course, invited to place resources in the Common Ground with us. This levels the playing field so that conscious Co-Creation can manifest with greater possibilities. The resources we place in the Common Ground reflect the nature of what we are discussing.
Anytime we wish to have a more balanced conversation with others, and they are sensitive to the energetics of the Common Ground, they will feel empowered if we imagine placing our insights into the Common Ground space. This greatly reduces the imposition of our thoughts upon others (known as Subjectification). Sometimes, we just want to add certain qualities that could benefit the group we are with, such as trustworthiness, curiosity, harmony, or a desire for conscious striving for new perspectives.

It is helpful that we place the complete experiences we have had in the Common Ground and not just intellectual principles or particular Content. The more embodied our experience of a particular area, the more flexibility it will give us to respond to others in deep ways, so that the examples and the discussion can be a fully embodied exchange. In order to prevent Objectification, we need to have examples of individuals addressing and doing particular things to solve the problem. In order to address Subjectification, we need to have a diversity of approaches or possibilities so there is no ‘one right way’. Some individuals see the modalities (Thoughts, Emotions, Feelings, and Sensations) as either energetic particles, waves or both. From observing there effects and impacts HA tends to see these transfers as both. Whatever our observation these experiences are not just things but a transition of one possibility to another. More research is needed to discover a way to talk about our experiences beyond Intent, Content and Context.

One example of this is the difference between Ideals and Idealization. In ideals, the possibility is whole and complete. In Idealization, the need to be good is overwhelmed by our capacity to implement, which causes the experience to be incomplete. This means our Emotions and Feelings are unbalanced or incomplete. In order to address Idealization, we need to accept the passion and emotional progress that occurs when we find the best solution. We also need to make sure that the individuals involved are not repressing their experience or it will diminish the power of others to manifest their intentions. Fortunately, our facilitators are trained to invite others into an alignment process, so the solution can be used to anchor the discussion. Having these solutions available in a CNG can be as simple as recalling and recreating these experiences from the last discussion we had about the topic we are engaging. For us, in Higher Alignment, we teach facilitators to use all their own resources and incorporate all of the other class experiences, so there is a rich, internal environment for the mutual discovery of new possibilities.

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© Copyright 2016, Larry Byram. All Rights Reserved.

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