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Building Better Ideas by B. Kim Barnes

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Appendix 1 Skills and Tools for Facilitating a Constructive Debate

Building and Enforcing Norms

Norms or ground rules are agreements about how members of the group will behave toward one another and how they will treat the ideas that are discussed. To be useful, norms must be clear, observable, agreed to, and enforced. Otherwise, they quickly lose their meaning and efficacy. Norms can be enforced in a matter-of-fact way (as when reminding yourself or others that someone has overstepped) or with humor (one group I worked with threw a paper airplane at anyone who broke a norm). Any enforcement tools used should be used consistently; they become a part of the culture of an ongoing group or team and shape behavior in observable and implicit ways. ...

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