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The Primes: How any Group can Solve any Problem by CHRIS McGOFF

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How small a fence have you built around what can and cannot be said?

The next time you are in a group, look around. See the fence? It encircles you and the group and separates what you and other members are willing to say to each other—and what you are not. Technically, this fence is called a “normative boundary.” You may not be able to see it, but you can feel its presence. Whenever you are together with one or more people, a fence always exists. And whether you realize it or not, it limits the conversation.

Inside the fence is the “usual” conversation that generates the usual results. Outside the fence is the “available” conversation. Talking about things outside the fence is “unusual” and therefore generates remarkable outcomes.

The PERIMERTER PRIME first showed up when I was in New York working with a group of CEOs who asked me to outfit them with the PRIMES. Without much thought, I went to the butcher paper, drew the three circles, and said to them, “As we do introductions, tell me something about your business that you have never told any other member. Then I will ask the group to tell me how far out from ‘usual’ your comment was, so I get a gauge on the group.” I knew 10 minutes later that a new PRIME was born. These seasoned executives were immediately able to take their conversation to a whole new level.

Try this. Start talking with someone you know as you ...

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