ORID: Getting to the Heart of the Discussion with Your Team to Create Effective Change

July 20, 2017


You own a business. You facilitate a team. Everyone comes to a meeting bright eyed and bushy tailed full of ideas, thoughts, opinions, and suggestions. But in order to really drive change and make effective decisions what is the best way to lead that meeting?

Here in Canada, an approach was developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA). It’s called ORID and the approach breaks meetings and communication into four parts in order to reach the point of decision making.

What does this odd little acronym stand for?

O:   Objective
R:   Reflective
I:     Interpretive
D:   Decisional

These are the four parts that a discussion facilitator, be they consultant or CEO, must work through in order to reach the goal(s) of an organization.

Objective. The first component is simply about the facts. What does the group know about the topic at hand?

Reflective. Emotions come into play here. How does the group feel about the topic? What do they like or dislike?

Interpretive. What are the types of issues the group is facing or might face about the topic?

Decisional. With the above information and discussion, the group may now move forward into a process of making a decision about the topic and moving towards the goal or at least defining what the next steps may be.

Why is ORID an effective tool in facilitating meetings and making decisions?

One of the biggest benefits of ORID is that the system is designed to bring forward all that is known about the topic or issue at hand. It also gets employees talking in a constructive way that can and will help teams leads come to a final decision. We’ve all been in meetings where there is a lot of talk but little constructive movement, ORID helps mitigate that. ORID also helps in a couple of other key ways. It helps the group get discussions to a deeper and more meaningful level. It can help bring up topics or issues that may be sensitive in nature and hit these topics in a non-confrontational way.

ORID, of course, isn’t meant to be a free-for-all approach to a meeting. It really is meant to be driven by a facilitator who controls the discussion to help get to a point of decision. It is also meant to give decision and policy makers strategic insight to the organization that can benefit it and the team in the long run.