Other Peoples Definitions

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Other Peoples Viewpoints

Allowing other people to air their own perspectives or challenge your views provides an opportunity to understanding the problem from an additional approach. It is a very direct application of the basic creative principle of valuing differences:

  1. Your client briefly outlines the problem and framework and writes up on the flipchart their attempt to summarise the essence of the problem, using the form ‘How can I or we…’ or ‘How to…’
  2. The participants ask the client any questions for clarification that occur to them, but avoid recommending solutions, offering explanations or making judgements.
  3. The client answers the questions factually, and avoids making any justifications or defences.
  4. Following the questioning, each participant of the group (client and helpers) writes down privately their own attempts at expressing the essence of the problem in the same ‘How can I or we…’ /‘How to…’ format. Helpers should avoid being provocative in their versions – e.g. expressing what they have ‘read between the lines’ as well as what the client has told them.
  5. When everyone feels ready, all the ideas and thoughts are written up on the flipchart, explained and discussed.
  6. Finally the client decides on an ultimate version based on all the other versions and the discussion that has taken place. The client has the last word!
  7. The helpers are actually operating as consultants and their assignment is not to decide how they would deal with the problem, but to help the client settle on a perspective that is most helpful to her or him. As the client has the last word, carefully worded suggestions that are sensitive to the client’s focus are likely to be more productive.