Each community decision affects distinct groups differently.

Moment of Oh! - Core Principle: Include Diverse PerspectivesIt is essential that all relevant interest groups or constituencies are engaged in the decision, especially those groups that may dissent.

Bring key advocates and dissenters together. Confirm that each constituency has access to and agrees to the same set of facts and figures. Ensure that everyone understands the interests of others. Separate this step from solution generation.

Ask all to consider underrepresented viewpoints and whether enough of the community has experienced the Moment of Oh! Early and sustained conversations among advocates and dissenters are critical to effective solution implementation. While there is no “silver bullet” for successful community decision making, communities that do not pay attention to this principle are destined for failure.

Common Missteps:

  • Decide on the best solution before engaging affected parties, and tell people why the decision is the best solution ex post facto.
  • When individuals challenge the decision, discredit them for lacking expertise, for not having all the information, and/or for their lack of participation in the announced public meeting.
  • Tell them why their proposed alternative solutions are invalid or won’t work.

Key Considerations:

  • Have you identified the various interest groups?
  • Have you invited representation from the interest groups?
  • Do you have a plan to allow people to share diverse perspectives?• Are you open to considering the opinions of others?
  • Have you allocated enough time for the necessary dialogue?

— Previous book post: Seven Core Principles

— Next up: Core Principles – Understand Each Other

Greg Ranstrom and John Blakinger are authors of the new  book The Moment of Oh! a guide to help communities make tough decisions.