Organizational Development Consultant

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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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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Fifteen Techniques for Implementing Decisions: #11 Executive Steering Group (ESG)

January 18, 2015

“I got approval for an important change in the way we do business, but now we’re stalled. The people on our project team don’t have the clout to break through the logjams and resolve cross-functional issues. What should I do?

#11: Executive Steering Group (ESG)

What is an Executive Steering Group?

Executive Steering Groups (ESGs) are groups that are called together for purposes of overseeing a specific project or program. Your ESG should represent your major stakeholders, and have the decision making authority to drive the direction of your project. ESGs usually consist of individuals in leadership positions and are Continue reading

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Fifteen Techniques for Implementing Decisions: #10 Project Plans

January 10, 2015

“We seem to have a difficult time moving from large, complex goals into detailed action plans. Is there a technique that can help us better organize our efforts in this type of situation?”

#10: Project Plans

What are Project Plans?

The Project Plans technique helps you effectively prepare a complex action plan. After an organization or group has agreed upon and approved a goal, the next step is to create an action plan for achieving that goal. If the goal is large and complicated, the resulting action plan will have several levels and categories of activity.

A Project Continue reading

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Fifteen Techniques for Implementing Decisions: #7 Transformation Map

December 7, 2014

“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?”

#7: Transformation Map

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 Continue reading

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Fifteen Techniques for Implementing Decisions: #3 Test for Support

November 9, 2014

“Even though our group approves a decision for implementation, sometimes I get the feeling that there isn’t total support for that decision. Is there a technique that would better ascertain true levels of support before we begin implementation?”

#3: Test for Support

What is Test for Support?

Test for Support is a technique that provides a process for discovering how much true support there is for a decision, goal, or action plan that has already been approved.

One cannot assume enthusiastic support from all group members simply because a decision has been approved by the group. This misguided assumption Continue reading

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Fifteen Techniques for Implementing Decisions: #1 Chart Actions

October 30, 2014

Meetings are more powerful and effective with an implementation, next steps, or action component. But while many groups agree on where they want to go and what they need to do, few plan how to get there. This often results in conflict, confusion and diminished effectiveness. Gaining agreement on how these group decisions will be carried out strongly increases the likelihood of success.

The 15 Techniques for Implementing Decisions demonstrate how to efficiently move a meeting group toward action. These techniques ensure agreement on actions, clarify roles and responsibilities, and formulate plans for review and follow-up.

Techniques include:

  1. Chart Actions Continue reading
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Ten Techniques to Make Decisions: #10 Business Case

October 3, 2014

“I’ve been having trouble getting approval for important changes to the way we do business. I can’t seem to get the leadership team on the same page. What can I do?”

#10 Business Case

What is a Business Case?

A Business Case describes the goal, costs and benefits of making a change with the purpose of influencing decision makers to approve the change. Although Business Cases are usually expressed in financial terms and written with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in mind, a strong business case is one that addresses not only the financial rationale for a change, Continue reading

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Ten Techniques to Make Decisions: #9 Impact and Changeability Analysis

September 29, 2014

“Sometimes our group makes decisions to pursue things that we later find don’t make a lot of difference or could make a difference but are out of our control. How can we avoid these problems?”

#9  Impact and Changeability Analysis

What is Impact and Changeability Analysis?

Impact and Changeability Analysis is a decision-making technique that helps a meeting group to isolate and focus on the options that will have the most impact on their organizational goals. In addition, this technique identifies the options that are within their authority to change. This technique results in increased efficiency of effort Continue reading

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