Good Resource for Any Group That Makes Decisions

We stumbled upon a valuable resource for any group that makes decisions: Serving on Groups That Make Decisions: A Guide for Families. Developed by the Wisconsin Department of Public Education to encourage families to get more involved, it has usefulness far beyond that. The guide provides an impressive amount of concrete and actionable information about effective groups in a clear and succinct format.

It covers the purposes of different kinds of decision-making groups, common processes and tools that groups use to make decisions, how to organize your skills to communicate effectively in a group, how to use data, and more. The data section does a great job demystifying the whole area and explaining basic concepts and guidelines. Each section of the guide has a focus question, informative reading, facts to consider, questions and answers, and where to find more information. The layout is clean, with lots of white space that encourages paging further into the guide.

We could see it being used during the launch of many kinds of groups. In a first meeting you might use pieces to clarify the group’s purpose (e.g., governing, advisors, planning) and review what makes groups succeed or fail. In later meetings you might draw on it to review tips and strategies, review how to collect and use data, and apply it to problem-solving. Individual group members may find it useful to read between meetings.

You can buy a bound version with tabs for $8, or download it section by section at no cost: www.servingongroups.org/guidebook. As a point of interest, the guide is a product of Wisconsin’s State Personnel Development Grant, the same federal program that funded this website.

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