RE: As others see us/ talkers vs nontalkers
From: Ruddick, T.R. (
Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2001 11:19:06 -0700 (MST)
Lending emphasis to what Lynn said in the following exchange:

"Howard wrote
>My friend Ted Kaehler devised an explicit group variant of this.
>* He brings poker chips equal to the number of minutes the meeting will
>  These are divided equally among the attendees.
>* If you have no chips, you may not speak.  However, if you wish to speak,
>  you may raise your hand and "beg" for a chip. ...

I've been party to some attempts to  have everyone speak "equally" in a 
group, but it doesn't always work."

"Doesn't always" is a little too kind.  It might, rarely, have slight
short-term benefit.  But in the long run this sort of artificial
time-sharing will ruin the group's function and developmental process.  It
never works.

A bit of group theory to explain why I insist on that conclusion.

Groups go through four distinct stages of development (called different
things by different group researchers):

1.  A few authoritative leaders ("burning souls" as they're called here)
with many mildly interested, passive followers.  Decision making is by fiat
of the leaders.

2.  Open conflict, as more people become more committed and newer peoples'
vision clashes with that of the original or older members.  Decision making
happens through political processes--coalition, debt-swapping, etc.

3.  Pacification, conflict avoidance, "assumed consensus".  This is the
stage where the group is in danger of falling into "groupthink", the stage
where people withhold feelings and thoughts.  Decision-making is done
quickly and without thought on major issues, although to maintain a sense of
attention to detail there are some lengthy debates about relatively
meaningless things.

4.  High performance groups, where decisions are made by true consensus
after careful consideration of each members' views.  Leadership in this
stage is functional and fluid, with members moving in and out of leadership
positions based on their capacities to deal with the task at hand.

All groups recycle through these phases whenever there's a big turnover in
membership (some groups never get to stage 4--some never get past stage 1
before disintegrating).  Some groups, depending on membership, go through
them really fast.

Your "poker chip" example would interfere with the first two stages, would
get people stuck in stage 3, and would be utterly useless in stage 4.

Note that some of the old methods of assessing consensus--like the
red-yellow-green cards for people to hold up--would not have the same
negative effect.  Those techniques increase the flow of communication rather
than artificially stifling it.

4.  High performance.  Leader
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