January 31, 2013 1 Comment
To build an operational definition that the group can live with, in its own words, and with its own understanding use the following method. Since narrative descriptions alone may fall short of the entire meaning, we also want to support the definition with illustration and examples.
To provide support to a group that needs to consensually arrive at the definition and meaning of something, whether concrete or abstract. This FAST tool supports consensual understanding around terms and phrases but is not robust enough to develop rich definitions for complex ideas like processes.
When a term or phrse requires further definition or understanding, it may be best to start with a dictionary definition(s). However, do not use dictionary definitions alone. Rather, offer them as stimulus for the group to draft their own operational definition. Additional steps are:
- First identify “WHAT THE TERM OR PHRASE IS NOT”.
- Next, compile a narrative sentence or paragraph that generally describes it. Perhaps avoid starting with a blank sheet of paper (ie, use a dictionary or other professional definitions and support).
- Then list the detailed bullets that capture the specific characteristics or specifications of the term or phrase. For example, with a camera, we might detail the requirements for mega pixels, zoom, etc.
- Obtain or build a picture of concrete items or create an illustration if the item is abstract or dynamic (eg, process flow).
- Illustratethe definition with real-life examples from the participants’ experience that vivify the term or phrase. For example, a utilitybillcan be defined, but it is helpful to show an actual invoice (eg, electricity for theperiod15JAN20xxto14FEB20xx).
Let us know what you think by commenting below. For additional methodology and team-based meeting support for your change initiative, refer to “Change or Die, a Business Process Improvement Manual” for much of the support you might need.
Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills
The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership-training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).
Do not forget to order Change or Die if you’re working on a business process improvement project. It provides detailed workshop agendas and detailed tools to make your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective—daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.
- “Brainsteering” Recommends 5 Activities to Improve Brainstorming (facilitativeleadership.wordpress.com)
- Four Activities to Efficiently and Effectively Wrap-up a Meeting (facilitativeleadership.wordpress.com)
- Leadership Style Depends on Source of Ideas & Solution Ownership (facilitativeleadership.wordpress.com)
- Brudney & Baum on Dictionary Use by the Supreme Court (lsolum.typepad.com)
- 5 Other Online Dictionaries (dailywritingtips.com)
- The Best Free Dictionary and Thesaurus Programs and Websites (howtogeek.com)