Organizational Development Consultant

Planning is critical to successful meetings: use this checklist to help you prepare

August 15, 2018

What you do before your meetings is every bit as important as what you do in them. In fact, without effective pre-meeting planning and organization, the quality of your meetings will certainly suffer, and some will very likely fail.

Most facilitators plan to some degree. Many consider their meetings planned if they create an agenda, send it out, book a room, and order the coffee. But proficient pre-meeting planning needs to go beyond these basics. The level of planning a facilitator attains before the meeting separates the true professional from the rank amateur. And meeting results speak for themselves.

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The power and importance of questions

August 1, 2018

The Harvard Business Review highlights the importance and power of questions in two recent articles.  I highly recommend them both.

Better Brainstorming suggests we focus on questions, not answers, for breakthrough insights. Better questions can lead to answers that challenge deeply held assumptions, and make it easier to push past biases and venture into unchartered territory.

https://hbr.org/2018/03/better-brainstorming

The Surprising Power of Questions talks about the importance of questioning as a skill to be honed, and as a tool for unlocking value in companies.  It spurs learning and the exchange of ideas, fuels innovation and performance improvement and builds Continue reading

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Back by Popular Demand: How to Use a Parking Lot in Your Meetings

March 7, 2018

“Our meetings are continually spinning off onto tangents unrelated to our original agenda.  We never accomplish what we originally set out to do and everyone is frustrated, including me.  What can I do?”

What is PARKING LOT?

PARKING LOT is a productivity technique for effectively dealing with distracting but important non-agenda items that arise during the course of your meeting.

Non-agenda items always seem to find their way into meetings.  It is important to honor and recognize the existence of these important non-agenda items, but without interrupting the focus and goals of your meeting agenda. PARKING LOT Continue reading

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Back by popular demand: How and when to use Transformation Maps

January 31, 2018

“My leadership team and I have a pretty clear idea of where we want to be in the next 5 years, but don’t know exactly how to get there. There are so many issues and improvements to address. It’s hard to get our heads around them. What suggestions do you have?”

What is a Transformation Map?

A Transformation Map is a one page visual depiction of the plan for implementing a strategy or goal. It describes the major results, actions and milestones required to achieve your strategic goal, along with the expected timing of each of them. It Continue reading

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Back by popular demand: The What, When and How of Project Charters

January 12, 2018

“I’ve been asked to lead a change project within my company, but I’m not really sure what is expected. What should I do?”

What is a Project Charter?

A Project Charter is a one page document that describes the new project’s:

  • Objectives
  • Measures and targets – both financial and non-financial
  • Deliverables
  • Assumptions re: support requirements, risks, inter-dependencies, etc.
  • The Project Sponsor (the leader ultimately accountable for the project’s success) the Project Manager (the person who leads the project on a day-to-day basis), and Team Members (people assigned to the project either full or part time), and the time required for Continue reading
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Mission Critical Meetings still selling strong and getting stronger

January 9, 2018

Mission Critical Meetings: 81 Practical Facilitation Techniques was published in 2014. I’m grateful and honored that sales continue to grow, with 2017 sales the highest so far. I continue to receive feedback on how valuable this practical ‘how to’ book is for those who facilitate meetings.   Thank you all.  I continue to welcome your sales and reviews.

When Mission Critical Meetings first came out, I blogged all 81 techniques. The techniques showed up in internet searches thousands of times.  The top five searches where my blogs were clicked are:

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Why are so many people in meetings where nothing gets done?

August 27, 2015

Too many executives and managers complain about being stuck in back-to-back meetings all day with no time to ‘get work done.’ This is especially true during organizational transition, where roles and decision-making authority are unclear, and organizational discipline is low.

Here are a few tips to use meetings effectively and free up time for getting work done.

Appoint an owner for each meeting: 

This person is accountable for inviting the right people and setting an agenda that is worthy of participants’ time.

Be clear about the purpose and expected outcomes of every meeting:

If the only purpose of the Continue reading

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New research hints at ways to make meetings more effective

April 27, 2015

The April 4th edition of the Economist shared valuable new research on the pitfalls of decision making in meetings and how to avoid or diminish them.  The article is below and practical tips are highlighted.

__________

WORKING life often seems like an endless sequence of tiresome meetings. Catch-ups, kick-offs and reviews litter the calendars of most professionals. Effectiveness around the conference table can determine success in almost every career. Chief executives spend a third of their time in pow-wows of one sort or another, by one estimate. Monetary policy is usually set by committee; juries deliberate behind closed doors Continue reading

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Four Techniques to Evaluate Meeting Effectiveness: #4 Written Questions

March 29, 2015

“In addition to meeting together, sometimes our group meets by phone or across locations and even via E-mail. Is there a meeting evaluation technique that I can use both inside and outside a face-to-face meeting?”

#4 Written Questions

What are Written Questions?

the Written Questions technique gathers written feedback on your meeting’s effectiveness from each individual in the meeting. The technique requires each participant to complete a meeting evaluation questionnaire that has been prepared in advance.

Written Questions, like the other meeting evaluation techniques described in this blog, does more than simply analyze and measure the effectiveness of your meetings. Continue reading

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Four Techniques to Evaluate Meeting Effectiveness: #3 Team Effectiveness Chart

March 24, 2015

“My team is very exacting and likes to use quantitative ratings. Is there a meeting evaluation technique I can use that satisfies this criterion?”

#3 Team Effectiveness Chart

What is a Team Effectiveness Chart?

A Team Effectiveness Chart visually and quantifiably measures specific aspects of your meeting, such as level of open communication, satisfaction with results accomplished, how well the group honors the ideas of others, or other components of the meeting. The resulting measurements are charted on grids with numerical rankings.

A Team Effectiveness Chart serves as a visual aid to display quantified group ratings. This chart can Continue reading

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