IAF Methods

Fire Houses and Day Care Centers

by for . Last edit was over 2 years ago
5 - 10 26 - 50
Any decision making workshop
DRAFT Pending Declined
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To move build consensus in a highly politicized and fairly polarized (yet congenial) group by moving them from positions (which polarize us) to goals and constraints (which may have more agreement than is indicated by the positions).


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Setting: none

Number of participants: 26-50

Time needed: 5 - 10 min.

Pre-Work Required: none

Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: any


1. Tell a story about a win-win outcome.

2. The one I use is the (probably apocryphal) story told in _How to Make Meetings Work_ by Doyle and Strauss. This is probably not the way they tell it, but it's the way I tell it from memory.

3. It seems there was a town that had a $10M surplus. (Right away we're in the 'urban myth' category -- nobody ever has a surplus. But D&S swear it's true.) There was one faction that wanted to refurbish the town's 5 firehouses for $2M a piece, and another faction that wanted to build daycare centers. They almost went for a compromise, where everyone got a little of what they wanted, (refurbish three firehouses, build a couple of day care centers) but they weren't satisified with that. They kept digging. They did a little more action research. What they found was that shifting demographics meant that the town would get better fire protection from three newly-located firehouses than from the five old ones. Each could be built for the same $2M it would have taken to refurbish an old one, leaving $4M to convert the old firehouses into daycare centers.

4. Encourage the participants to look for their own win-win.


Follow-Up Required: create shared goals

Usual or Expected Outcomes: The group recognizes the need to share goals.

Potential pitfalls: The group is overly politicial.


Source: Ned Ruete

Derived from: How to Make Meetings Work  by Doyle and Strauss

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