Challenging Plans or Ideas: The Ritual Dissent Approach

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Challenging Plans or Ideas: The Ritual Dissent Approach
Gary Wong, Consultant, Canada

When facilitating strategic planning sessions, I often will use a Cognitive-Edge Inc. workshop method called: 'Ritual Dissent'.
It is designed to test and enhance proposals, ideas, plans through challenge - what is wrong, why it won't work, downsides, risk exposure, etc. It is a forced listening technique, not a dialogue or discourse.

The Ritual Dissent approach involves a spokesperson presenting to a table group who receives them in silence. The spokesperson then turns the chair around so that his/her back is to the audience and listens in silence while the group tears into it with full pessimism. Since the ritualization of not facing the audience removes eye contact, the feedback is not taken as an personal attack. It also helps with depersonalization when there are several table groups with spokespersons going the same process simultaneously. Spokespersons who are forced to listen in silence without ... Register


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