Trans4mind Home Page
~ A Journey of Self-Discovery ~

Looking for a better life?

Our online, interactive video workshops present the most effective methods of holistic personal development, combined with personal support from expert life coaches.

Participatory Decision-Making

By Martha Lasley
Share on Facebook

Decision-making is a rigorous, liberating, spiritual practice. At the heart of participatory decision-making process is full empowerment for everybody.

As a group searches for a solution that meets the most needs, one way to facilitate the process that honors both individual autonomy and group collaboration is for all participants to determine their preferences privately, silently, and then share them aloud in turn.

As facilitators, we keep it light, easy, and playful, but we don’t avoid the first crucial step of determining personal preference. In this way, we continuously discover where each person stands.

This process keeps our relationships clean, creative and respectful, by avoiding collusion, control, or going along with the majority. Autonomous decision-making ensures that cooperation is authentic and not imagined.

Each person can check in with the deep inner motivation in the belly, to get a sense of where they truly stand, as a basis for creative agreement. Then people think about the whole, valuing diversity as they begin to explore proposals that will honor everyone.

In this way, immanent, embodied spirit is a spacious co-creative partner to the contract. Honoring each other as autonomous beings grounds us in sacred energy. As we disclose our preferences and bring them into the light, we proceed to a negotiated, shared decision.

John Heron describes participatory decision-making in his book Participatory Spirituality:

Participatory decision-making integrates autonomy, co-operation and hierarchy. In this inquiry, each person moves between and integrates these three positions, and moves between three phases. There is an autonomous phase: each person states clearly their individual, idiosyncratic preference, in relation to the matter being discussed. Next a hierarchical phase: people start to think integrally on behalf of the whole group, and one or more participants state integral proposals that seek to honour diversity-in-unity, and that resonate strongly with the group. Then there is a co-operative phase of negotiating an agreed decision, after debating, selecting and refining the most resonant integral proposal.[1]

As people share their preferences, everyone listens open-heartedly for the best interest of the group, allowing themselves to be influenced by each other. Working together to solve difficult problems, people often go through a difficult period where resolution seems impossible. Some people in the group experience profound discomfort unless they recognize the difficulty as a blessing.

The same way that judgment masks important needs, the chaos of the decision making process is a gift. Given the space to touch the collective despair and hopelessness, someone in the group invariably offers an idea that elicits hope. The idea itself may sound ridiculous, amusing, or half-baked, but the glimmer of hope sparks an energy shift, and new possibilities come forward.

Facilitators who don’t have deep comfort with the depth of despair and hopelessness, or want to rush through the process, don’t get to experience this magic. Many facilitators rob the group of their transformative experience because we don’t have the courage to stay with the intensity or the heart to explore the depth of the challenge.

Likewise, if we don’t recognize the aha moment, and we allow the group to pounce on and demolish the idea before it fully emerges, the fresh insights don’t surface. When facilitators regularly encounter the mysterious shifts that take place, we come to expect transformation, which impacts the outcome. But if we try to force the transformation or the miracle, it won’t happen. No one can be forced into transformation – it arrives spontaneously in unlikely moments. We can co-create solutions by setting intentions, while holding them loosely, and maintaining a sense of how wonder might manifest itself.

We hold the intention of embracing chaos, allowing the old order to collapse so that a new kind of order can emerge. Often silence ensues. And then the space opens up and a new proposal emerges. Instead of tidying it up prematurely, we hang in there with the confusion to see where it goes.

If people complain or blame others for their own discomfort, we can interrupt, asking them to sit with their values to support self-connection. Ordinarily, cynicism, skepticism, judgments, and labels prevent people from living in a state of wonder. But if we get curious about those judgments and beliefs, if we encourage everyone to explore with the same sense of wonder, we have fresh opportunities for embracing the whole, including the shadow.

When it looks like we’re close to unity, we check in by asking people to rank themselves on a scale of 1 – 5 or take a straw poll to see where people stand, using thumbs up, thumbs down, or in-between. We ask to hear from the folks with thumbs down first, so that we can hear their creative input for tweaking the solution. As they speak, we celebrate diversity by honoring idiosyncratic creativity and heterogeneous perspectives. We can ask, “What would it take to move you to thumbs up?” and adjust the solution accordingly.

This practice of participatory decision-making requires a deep level of trust in ourselves as facilitators, in the decision making process, and in the wisdom of the group. Surprisingly, “letting go” is an advanced facilitation skill that comes only with experience. To deepen your trust of yourself and the collaborative decision-making process before you bring it to a group, I recommend trying it with your partner or your family. Start with a simple decision, such as what to eat for lunch and then tackle bigger decisions.

[1] John Heron. 2006. Participatory Spirituality: A Farewell to Authoritarian Religion. Lulu Press.

Coaching is life-changing, world-changing work. The coaching programs at Leadership that Works go beyond theories and models and work with clients on a deeper level. You learn how to coach the whole person: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Whole person Transformation.

Leadership that Works

Transforming the world.
One heart at a time.

More articles from Coaching for Transformation
Out of the box
More personal development articles at the Counterpoint Article Library

From our extensive site, you'll find good info on many topics using this search:
Visit the INSIDE-OUT Blog
Wallace Huey & Peter Shepherd
Imagine if - with the help of personal development - the values of the heart could be brought into our families, communities and businesses... What kind of a world would this create?
By Wallace Huey & Peter Shepherd, Trans4mind Founders

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

  • Sweet Tooth ~ Train your brain to lose your sweet tooth.
  • Finish What You Start ~ Sprint all the way past the finish line.
  • Do It Now ~ A hypnosis audio to trigger deep, emotionally driven activity.
  • Life Priorities ~ Hypnosis can help you clarify what really matters to you.
  • Stop Thinking About Someone ~ A session to help you move on from thoughts that have been constantly pestering you.
  • Public Speaking Fear ~ Banish speaking anxiety and nerves with hypnosis.
  • Motivate Yourself to Exercise ~ Build a powerful exercise habit that you can't break.
  • Get Rid of Fear & Anxiety ~ Stop worry and apprehension wrecking your life.
  • Self Esteem ~ Break the negative trance of low self esteem and give yourself a chance in life.
  • Create Your Own Reality ~ Use the power of your unconscious mind to transform your life.
  • Deeper Self Respect ~ Use hypnosis to connect with your true inner worth.
  • Detach From Fear ~ Tune out nervousness and anxiety with hypnosis.
  • Improving Concentration and Focus ~ Learn how to discipline, direct and command your mind to improve your performance.
  • Exercise Motivation ~ Give you powerful keys to getting back on track with your exercise - and staying there.
  • Overcoming Shyness ~ Provides an invisible security blanket allowing you to develop social ease and overcome shyness.
  • Quick Confidence Booster ~ An audio hypnosis session that's specifically designed to get you (quickly!) back on track.
  • Stop Negative Thoughts ~ Learn powerful hypnotic techniques to stop negative thoughts before they start.
  • Overcoming Procrastination ~ Let hypnosis help you get on with what you need to do, when you need to do it. Let nothing hold you back.
  • Think Thin ~ Use hypnosis to re-train your brain and lose weight naturally... that's how to get and stay slim.
  • Fall Asleep Fast ~ Relearn how to fall asleep fast and enjoy a good night's sleep.
  • The Next Level ~ Designed to radically boost your performance in any field. It's based on a technique used by top athletes and other successful people to help them make a big stride forward.
This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...

View all the Hypnosis Downloads here

Get a free Hypnosis Download at Facebook

Welcome to the New Wave in Meditation Technology

Click here to learn more about the iAwake Profound Meditation Program
The iAwake Profound Meditation Program
is a way of enhancing your meditation practice, making meditation not only easier and more enjoyable, but also more efficient and effective.
Profound Meditation provides the smoothest, deepest, richest, most profound meditation experience available anywhere...
Here is a link to a free 20-minute track from iAwake Technologies - a sample of the type of tools that will deepen your meditation immediately and help you quickly become a successful meditator. It's the opening track of iAwake's flagship product, the Profound Meditation Program, called the iAwake Experience...
Learn More and Download the iAwake Experience
I think you'll find this technology a tremendous aid on your transformative journey of becoming your best and most creative self - and you can get started today!
Copyright © 1997-2017 Trans4mind Ltd