Breaking Robert’s RulesThe New Way to Run Your Meeting, Build Consensus, and Get Results

original

Lawrence Susskind & Jeffrey L. Cruikshank

A handbook to change the way you hold meetings, paving the way for efficiency, efficacy, and peaceful decision making

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Every day in communities across America hundreds of committees, boards, church groups, and social clubs hold meetings where they spend their time engaged in shouting matches and acrimonious debate. Whether they are aware of it or not, the procedures that most such groups rely on to reach decisions were first laid out as Robert’s Rules more than 150 years ago by an officer in the U.S. Army’s Corps of Engineers. Its arcane rituals of parliamentary procedure and majority rule usually produce a victorious majority and a very dissatisfied minority that expects to raise its concerns, again, at the next possible meeting.

Breaking Robert’s Rules clearly spells out how any group can work together effectively. After briefly explaining the problems created by Robert’s Rules, the guide outlines the five key steps toward consensus building, and addresses the specific problems that often get in the way of a group’s progress.

Appendices include a basic one-page “Handy Guide” that can be distributed at meetings and a case study demonstrating how the ideas presented in the book can also be applied in a corporate context. Written in a non-technical and engaging style, and containing clear ideas and instructions that anyone can understand and use, this one-of-a-kind guide will prove an essential tool for any group wishing to make its meetings more effective. In addition, neighborhood associations, ad hoc committees, social clubs, and other informal groups lacking a clear hierarchy will find solid advice on how to move forward without resorting to “majority rules” or bickering over who will take leadership positions.

 

“Blessedly free of jargon and written in a brisk and positive style…Can potentially make a real contribution to how people engage one another on difficult issues.” – Michael Wheeler, Harvard Business School

“This book is revolutionary and hilarious. Revolutionary because the authors provide a new framework that will radically change the way organizations make decisions and resolve conflicts. Hilarious because it will remind the reader of every stupid or senseless meeting they’ve endured.” – Warren Bennis, University of Southern California and author of On Becoming a Leader

PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You are then permitted to view the document on your computer and either print the number of copies you purchased, or forward the electronic file as many times as the number of copies you purchased. You will only receive a link to one electronic file per document. So, if you order 25 soft copies, you may either forward copies of the link to 25 people via e-mail, or print (and/or photocopy) 25 hard copies of the document.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

The purchase price and handling fee are the same for both soft and hard copies. Soft copies do not entail a shipping fee.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, then you should order a single Teacher’s Package for that role simulation. A PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package is also available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. There is no need to order participant materials as well as a Teacher’s Package, as all Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters. Please note that the materials in Teacher’s Packages are for the instructor’s review and reference only, and may not be duplicated for use with participants.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

If you wish to order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Participant Copies.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required; the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Participant Copies.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.