Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

Some people can get a bit precious about their ideas in meetings, right?

Ever noticed yourself thinking things like, ‘Where’s that person coming from?’ or ‘Can’t they see my idea makes a lot more sense?’

If we're in meetings where lots of ideas are generated, it’s understandable that we can become attached to our own ideas. Fair enough ... well, because they’re ours.

And there might be other reasons why you might be persistent and argue for your ideas. Like not feeling heard, or perhaps feeling undervalued for your contributions. Or maybe the louder ones just get more air-time. It happens.

That's where diamond ranking comes in.

So how does diamond ranking work?

Start by sketching a large diamond shape on a flipchart.

For a given problem, participants write all the possible ideas or solutions on blank cards. Next, they rank the options in a diamond pattern in five levels, from most to least preferred. If you had 13 ideas the pattern from top to bottom would be 1, 3, 5, 3, 1 cards. (See this diagram on Google) You can expand the diamond to accommodate any number of options.

Facilitating diamond ranking

It’s better if someone other than the chair facilitates the diamond ranking.

Once you have your diamond, it’s time to stand back and review your rankings with a critical eye. Be open to changing the rankings. After some discussion, you may want to promote an option in the middle range – or maybe combine a couple of options.

Your purpose is to make a choice at level one, so encourage listening without judgment to the arguments for and against each ranking option.

Another strategy is to have two groups create their separate rankings, then present their choices to each other. The facilitator asks each group in turn to present an argument for their choice, and then asks the other to provide a counter-perspective, with a view to reaching a consensus. 

The benefits

To make high quality decisions, two criteria we should use are inclusiveness and objectivity. And that’s where diamond ranking can be very helpful.  The more perspectives you can include, the more confident you can be you’ll have a balanced outcome.

The visual layout that this method provides, gives you a more objective way of viewing the decision to be made. And because the whole group is involved it ensures everyone is included. The benefits satisfy people with either task-focused and people-oriented decision making styles.

Diamond ranking. It will make a valuable addition to your decision-making toolkit.

About Dharan Longley

dharan longley blog

Dharan Longley is a Senior Trainer at Skillset.

Dharan is an international master trainer with post-graduate qualifications in adult education.

His assignments have included training police officers and university managers in the Middle East, as well as teachers and staff of large organisations in New Zealand.

Dharan's topics are 'effective meetings', 'problem-solving and decision-making', 'team development', 'training for trainers' and 'customer service'. He particularly enjoys helping people with diverse points of view agree on practical solutions.

Dharan is based in Wellington. He has a passion for the outdoors. On days off, he’ll be taking photographs of forests or waves, or out kite surfing.

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