July 23, 2015 Leave a comment
Besides understanding the difference between his or her meeting roles and project or work roles, provide each participant with a participant handout or pre-read package. At launch or kickoff or any major inﬂection points, consider binding a package with spiral edging across the top of your inserts because it is unique and easier for left-handed note takers.
Following are some items to consider when constructing your participants package:
- Written purpose, scope, and deliverables of the workshop along with a simple agenda for the current session
- Lexicon or glossary of terms; especially any terms that are used in the purpose, scope, and deliverables statements mentioned in the item above
- Enterprise and business unit strategic planning support; especially the mission, values, visions, and objectives (ie, key measurements)
- Team charter (ie, Management Perspective or framing document) or additional detail about the project being supported by the meeting or workshop
- Sponsor’s letter of invitation—organizational and/ or enterprise strategic plan
- Team members’ contact information (consider photographs when preparing for a meeting with virtual participants)
- Relevant reading or support materials gathered during the interviews or from the project or adjunct project teams
- List of questions to be addressed during the meeting or workshop
- Responsibilities or expectations of the participants; including any overnight assignments, reading, or exercises that may be part of multi-day workshop
The sequence of the items above is shown in order of priority. No meeting or workshop can arrive at consensual agreement if the participants cannot agree at first on the purpose, scope, and deliverables of the meeting. Next, consensual understanding about what those terms mean must be controlled and not facilitated. Third, knowing how the balance of the organization depends on the success of this meeting and its contributions (ie, deliverable) must be established to create a sense of importance and urgency. The balance of the items may be considered optional, but optimal.
We also recommend that you provide each participant with a cover letter. When “relevant reading material” is assembled, frequently it contains so much bulk that many participants don’t look at it until the meeting commences. Rather, attach a cover letter to each participant stipulating which pages are essential for them to read based on their ability to make significant contributions.
Let us know what you think by commenting below. For additional methodology and team-based meeting support for your change initiatives, refer to “Change or Die, a Business Process Improvement Manual” for much of the support you might need to lead more effective groups, teams, and meetings.
Become Part of the Solution—Improve Your Facilitation and Methodology Skills
The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics of an effective facilitator and methodologist. 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 numerous 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.