Delivering Project Success

Have you ever wondered why so many projects go ary and fail to deliver the business benefit you had hoped for? 

If so, making space for a discussion before you press play on that multi-million-pound business case may be what your company needs to protect itself from undue harm due to false assumptions, missing perspectives, and a lack of stakeholder buy-in. 

I developed Free Thinking based on my experience as a Project Manager and my training in critical thinking while studying philosophy. The Free Thinking Method is based on a structured philosophical discussion called a Socratic Dialogue, which dates back to Socrates and his obsessive need for curiosity and questioning. The Free Thinking Method is a process of unraveling a question bit by bit, building consensus and buy-in until answers emerge. 

The workshop-style format is suitable for up to 12 people. No additional instruments are required for the discussion other than the participant’s own experience.

Socrates the ancient greek philosopher in deep thoughts, space for text

Craft The Question 

This is done before the actual workshop. The facilitator would agree upon an interesting and relevant question depending on the types of challenges within an organisation and the industry. For example, a client in the health sector may like to discuss a question about the limits of responsibility for others, while those in recruitment may be more interested in questions about trust and motivation. 

There are a few guidelines for what makes a good question: 

  • It should draw on the common experience of all people 
  • experience should be the only tool necessary for answering the question (not scientific instruments or frameworks)
  • It should be simple, interesting, open, and reflective
Tool.,

Select An Example 

When the group comes together for a discussion, they will be asked to think about the question at hand and consider either positive or negative examples of the question that they have personally experienced. For example, if the question is about what makes a good leader, then the examples could be about experiences they've had with previous people you've worked with that were good or bad examples of leadership. 

The examples are then shared, clarification questions are asked and one example is selected to work with. The group would then highlight what the key part of the example is that is specifically answering or highlighting the answer to the question. 

The criteria of what makes a good example is as follows: 

  • It should be derived from lived experience 
  • simple 
  • relevant to the topic 
  • a closed emotional experience 
  • a story that the participant is willing to present fully
Happy businesswoman analyzing graph on whiteboard

Examine The Core Statement 

This is where the discussion really gets going! In this part, the participants understand the motivations behind someone's actions and linkages are found between the actions and the core statement. 

Cherrydeck

Justify The Core Statement

In order to understand the underlying rules that were in operation at the time of the situation, the group then investigates their reasoning behind why the core statement is pivotal to the question at hand. 

Christian

Discover The Underlying Principles

The whole point of this method is to see whether the underlying reasons then share any common ground which would allow for a more universal answer to the question at hand. 

Athletic Asian runner sprinter crossing the finish line.

Useful background on dialogue method 

Socratic Dialogue:  www.sfcp.org.uk/socratic-dialogue

World Cafe: www.theworldcafe.com

Christina @ wocintechchat.com

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