power comes from exposing and applying the human "inference
ladder" of reasoning. That's the conceptual ladder
that your reasoning process "climbs," usually
subconsciously and instantaneously, between the time
your senses receive any kind of stimulus and the time
you act on that stimulus. Here are four of the ladder
Perception: Every person filters some data out and
lets other data in.
Emotional reaction: We each have immediate positive
or negative emotional reactions to most all stimuli.
Sense-making: Everyone assigns meaning to data
based on our unique filters (beliefs, drives and experiences).
Action: We take actions based on our own inferences
Here's an example:
loud alarm rings!!! (selective perception)
"Ugh..." (emotional reaction)
"It's time to get out of bed." (sense-making)
Stumble to the bathroom. (action)
Decision making groups get bogged down when it's members
climb the first three rungs silently, subconsciously
and individually. Most people in decision-making groups
only speak to each other about the last rung -- individual
preferences for the action. I call this jumping to the
"We should" statements. However, each member
may have reached their preference for the group action
based on different stimuli, different emotional reactions,
and different interpretations.
ORID technique ensures that the group visits each rung
of the ladder together. Here is how it works. After
the group shares a common experience (informational
presentation, document, etc.), lead them through the
following five steps:
O (for Objective): Ask the members what they recall
seeing or hearing and list their answers on flip chart
paper. Caution: Keep people focused on what they observed
with their senses. Disallow interpretations and opinions
at this stage.
R+ (for Reflective positive): Ask members what
they had positive reactions to and list their responses.
R- (for Reflective negative): Ask members what they
had negative reactions to and list their responses.
What will be positive for some may be negative for others.
That's okay and exactly why you are doing this.
I (for Interpretive): Ask members what sense they
make of the data and record their responses. Hint: It's
easier to assign meaning by thinking about what headline
a reporter might write about this data.
D (for Decisional): Ask the members what decisions
they can now make as a group. Help them work individual
proposals into consensus decisions.
About the Author: Christopher M. Avery, Ph.D.
is one of the most outspoken, celebrated, and successful
authorities on individual and team performance available
to executives and corporations today. His extensive
research focuses exclusively on how professionals build,
maintain and leverage successful and productive relationships
with people over whom they have no direct control. Visit
his website at: www.partnerwerks.com.
Resources. There are two books that are the major
source for the ORID method.
Art of Focused Conversation, by Brian Stanfield,
co-published by New Society Publishers and the Canadian
Institute of Cultural Affairs, 1999.
Art of Focused Conversation for Schools, by
Jo Nelson, co-published by New Society Publishers and
the Canadian Institute of Cultural Affairs, 2001.
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