Ground Rules for Effective Groups

1. Clearly state and agree to assumptions and conclusions.
2. Share all relevant information.
3. Focus first on ends, then on means when deciding what to do.
4. Be specific when talking and use examples to illustrate ideas.
5. Clarify and agree to the meaning of terms used in projects.
6. Explain the reasons behind one’s statements, questions, and actions.
7. Disagree openly with any member of the group.
8. After making statements, invite questions and comments.
9. Together decide how to handle disagreements and solutions.
10. Discuss any issue, even one that is difficult or uncomfortable.
11. Keep the discussion focused.
12. Treat everyone with respect.
13. All members actively participate in the decision process.
14. Exchange relevant information with appropriate persons outside the group.
15. Make decisions by consensus.
16. Do self-critiques to improve performance.

Adapted from: Schwarz, R. M. (1994). The skilled facilitator: Practical wisdom for developing effective groups. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 1-55542-638-7

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