IAF Methods

Multiple Perspectives Workshop

by for . Last edit was over 2 years ago
any 26 - 50
This workshop creates an understanding of the perspectives of the various stakeholders
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To open up the thinking of an existing team of people and to experience the excitement of creating many perspectives on a problem that offers alternative solutions to the problem.


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  • standard workshop resources



Setting: Breakout rooms, flipcharts and markers,etc. for each of the subgroups.

Number of participants: 26-50

Ideal conditions: This requires that some willingness to solve the problem be present.

Pre-Work Required: Some thought should be given to who are the stakeholders and what their interests and positions are.

Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: a high level of trust is required

Facilitator personality fit: This workshop needs someone who will push for interests and get people away from positions

Level of Difficulty to Facilitate (to be deleted during review): Facilitation skills required


1. We want to spend the next couple hours looking at a problem by generating as many perspectives as possible on the problem. This exercise is from Peter Senge et al "The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook". This is best done with an existing team of people faced with a real problem.

1. We want to first define a problem that we want to work on. I would like you to first of all take a sheet of paper and list the five key issues the department faces (This should be the organization which every one in the belongs).

2. I would like to ask one of you to list your five problems. Who thinks that they have the list that represents the most common list among the group. Put the list on the board.

3. Point to the first one on the list. How many of you have this on their list? Write the number next to the item.

4. Repeat this step for the rest of the items.

5. If there is no general agreement about the problem do the following step. Who thinks they have an item that is more representative of the group? Put up the item and repeat step 3.

6. When there is general agreement about the key problems do the following step. Which of these problems is the most difficult to find a realistic solution for? Mark that one.

7. We will be working on _________.

8. For the one that will be worked on ask the following questions:
a. Who are the people affected by this problem?  Sometimes a stakeholder can be actually two or more stakeholders. The client might divide into two or more categories of clients such as large and small, etc.

b. Who are the stakeholders of this problem? List them on the board. (For example for a Training Center: They might include, trainers, project leaders, the management team, clients, participants in the programs, the staff of the facilities, people who send participants, managers of participants, etc.)

9. Divide the group into teams of 4 people.

10. Each team will take one sheet of paper for each stakeholder. When you get to your team space put up the sheets with the name or title for each of the stakeholders at the top. Go around the room and have each person put up the critical interest of the problem from the perspective of each stakeholder. Each person must add something new to the perspective. If you cannot think of anything see the Perspective Help Sheet. You may find that one stakeholder name actually represents more than one actual stakeholder. You can add perspectives. When each person has added an interest of the problem for each stakeholder you have completed the task. You have one hour.

11. Are their any questions?

12. You might check each of the groups early in the process and answer questions.

13. You need to designate where the charts for each perspective goes in the room. You do not want team charts next to each other but each stakeholders chart should be next to each other. Please put up the charts. Stakeholder one goes here, stakeholder here, etc.

14. We will start with this ______ stakeholder (Select one that that has a lot of common elements which will be easier to deal with at the beginning.)

a. What common interests?
b. Where are the additional interests?
c. What could we add to this perspective?
d. What is the key element of this perspective? (Please note this on the sheets.)
e. Which of the other elements support this key element?

15. Repeat this exercise with each of the stakeholders.

16. Look across all of the stakeholders.

a. Read aloud the key elements of each perspective.

b. What are some points of commonality?

c. What are the differences?

d. If you were to give a name to all the stakeholders what would it be?

e. What is an action or series of actions that could satisfy all of the stakeholders? Get out a few here as we are not really interested in solving the issue at this point.

1. We want to step back a bit from this exercise and reflect on the process.
2. What were the steps?
3. What was surprising?
4. What did you learn?
5. Besides taking different perspectives, what is this exercise about?
6. If you wanted to use this exercise with a team you work with what issue would you like to deal with?


1. Summarise the insights from the sessions.
2. Suggest what the next sessions will be like.


Follow-Up Required: The next workshop should focus on solving the problem.

Usual or Expected Outcomes: An understanding of stakeholder positions. This enables the possibility of trying to find ways of meeting all of the stakeholder interests.


Source: Jon Jenkins

Derived from: This exercise is adapted from Peter Senge et al The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook p.273-275

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