Six Benefits by Improving Your Facilitative Leadership and Meeting Skills


As you amplify and increase your facilitative leadership skills, you and your team participants will become more successful.  What is our measurement of success?  Let us consider six substantial areas of success including:

  1. Consensual Understanding and Higher Quality Decisions
  2. Flexibility and Breaking through Stalemates and Deadlocks
  3. Impactful Groups through Improved Working Relationships
  4. Integral Decision-Making
  5. Knowledge Transfer and Increased Organizational Effectiveness
  6. Saving Time and Increased Personal Effectiveness

Let us look at each briefly in a more detail:

Strengthen Your Skills

Strengthen Your Skills

  1. Consensual Understanding and Higher Quality Decisions:  Properly facilitated, participants understand both WHAT is decided and WHY.  Since groups are capable of generating more options than the aggregate of individuals, they arrive at higher quality decisions that are capable of reconciling seemingly contrary points of view.
  2. Flexibility and Breaking through Stalemates and Deadlocks:  Structured approaches afford a higher degree of flexibility, than approaches without structure.  With structure, and topical flow, meetings can take the “scenic route” because there is a back-up plan to provide a respite from the stream of consciousness approach taken by unstructured meetings.  By exploring newly created options and challenging working assumptions, teams can breakthrough their stalemates and deadlocks by rediscovering common ground or by creating options during the meeting that did not walk in to the room at the start of the meeting.
  3. Impactful Groups through Improved Working Relationships:  Conflict becomes properly managed rather than ignored.  Complex issues may be addressed face-to-face as they should, rather than through a series of e-mails and innuendo.  Proper facilitation will demonstrate the opportunity and method for discovering win-win solutions.  As stakeholders’ ideas are sought, meeting activity will become more collaborative and innovative
  4. Integral Decision-Making: Defined as better alignment with organizational goals and objectives.  Structured decision-making must appeal to organizational goals and objectives supported by the meeting; typically the project, program, business unit, and enterprise.  Alignment with the “holarchial” perspective ensures that proposed actions are appropriate and supports prioritization based on the impact of proposed changes across the entire enterprise.  Effective decision-making reflects the integral perspective.
  5. Knowledge Transfer and Increased Organizational Effectiveness:  Learning organizations understand the need and power behind the transfer of knowledge from those who know to those who do not know, but should.  Facilitated environments provide the opportunity for challenge, reflection, and documentation that underlies shared understanding and amplifies organizational effectiveness.  Facilitative leadership also makes it easier to develop new leaders.
  6. Saving Time and Increased Personal Effectiveness:  Session leaders (aka facilitators) will more done faster.  As staff is treated as colleagues, commitment and motivation increases.  By becoming expert on method and tools rather than content, they can continue to use tools that generate consistent and repeatable results.  Meetings only fail because either the participants do not have the talent, do not have the motivation, or do not know how.  The role of the facilitative leader shows them how.

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 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.

The Positive Psychology of Chenille Stems: How to Make Everything Seem Easier


If you seek innovation and breakthrough during your group meetings or workshops, do not clone yourself.  Constantly strive to blend and mix various ingredients and participants.  But be prepared to keep them all stimulated.  We call it the “Zen” of the experience—that is appealing to all the senses to stimulate and maintain vibrancy.

Stimulate the Senses

Stimulate the Senses

As you know, moods and judgments can be influenced by unrelated experiences of sight and sound.  For example, we typically feel happier on sunny days and perhaps more relaxed when listening to certain types of music.  Heat and humidity are known to provoke more fighting, violence, and even riots.

You are encouraged to use multiple colors to break up the monotony of a single color hue.  You are encouraged to use icons and illustrations to break up the monotony of recording notes purely in the narrative format.  Likewise, use matrices, tables, and templates to stimulate your participants.

Our popular break timers blend a musical background that could best be described as eclectic—everything, from Frank to Frank as in Frank Sinatra to Frank Zappa.  We even suggest the use of Purell®, citrus fruit, and fresh air to alert participants who may be dozing off.  Likewise we encourage the use of 30-30, or 30 second stand-up and stretch breaks every 30 minutes.

In a similar fashion, we have used chenille stems (aka pipe cleaners) and foam stickers for nearly twenty years now.  While not all participants use them, research by Joshua Ackerman, Christopher Nocera, and John Bargh shows that the weight, texture, and hardness of the things we touch are unconsciously factored into decisions that have nothing to do what is being touched.

Most people associate smoothness and roughness with ease and difficulty.  Note the expressions “smooth sailing” and “rough seas ahead.”  According to the researchers, people who completed a puzzle with pieces covered in sandpaper described their interaction as more difficult and awkward than those with smooth puzzles.  Chenille stems offer both silky smoothness and flexibility, characteristics we seek from our participants and meetings.  Let the chenille stems make everything seem better, they seem to work, and research confirms why.

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 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.

 

14 Facilitator Typologies to Avoid (Humorous, Although Uncannily Real)


In light of upcoming Holiday Spirit, here is a quick and somewhat humorous listing of fourteen different facilitator typologies or “personalities” you might seek to avoid. My favorite is “The Pretender.”

14 Typologies to Avoid

14 Typologies to Avoid

  • The “I Can’t Hear You” Guy—The facilitator who refuses to listen, probably because they are too busy analyzing, judging, and processing information.
  • The Blabber—The facilitator who loves the sound of his or her own voice, and actually believes they are adding value when speaking about content rather than context.
  • The Centerpiece—The facilitator who makes he or she the real content of the workshop, because of course, it’s all about them.
  • The Drill Sergeant—The facilitator who is rigidly stuck on the agenda and puts the clock above quality content.
  • The Guardian—The facilitator who makes certain that all conversation goes through him or her and not from participant to participant, so as not to lose control.
  • The Ice Cube—The distant and aloof facilitator who is unwilling to personalize the experience, sometimes becoming accusatory.
  • The Know-it-all—The facilitator who always has the answer. The know-it-all whom can’t say “I don’t know.”
  • The Marathon Man—The facilitator who piles activities on top of one another, doesn’t allow for breaks, and ignores the need for groups to pause, reflect, and absorb topics and ideas.
  • The Molasses Man—The facilitator who is painfully slow and doesn’t have an innate feel for pacing, variety, or style.
  • The Parrot—The facilitator who relentlessly recaps information, restates ideas, and summarizes the obvious (although sometime justifiable for groups that are challenged to focus and “be here now.”)
  • The Passenger—The facilitator who lets people talk too long and gives up the reins of facilitation to whomever is speaking at the time.
  • The Pretender—The facilitator who doesn’t ask real questions but only “pretense questions” that are really designed to give the facilitator an excuse to pontificate.
  • The Storyteller—The facilitator who tells far too many cutesy stories or “war stories” and never gets deep into the content.
  • The Tunnel Driver—The facilitator who keeps doing the same thing or uses the same method hour after hour.

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 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.

Seven Top Skills for Managing Change in an Enterprise or Organization


To improve or enhance your personal capacities and to help you understand what skills to seek in others that support effective change, we have isolated seven top skills.

Change Management

Change Management

These skills are those most frequently identified by employers according to Syracuse University public-affairs professor Bill Coplin, author of “10 Things Employers Want You To Learn In College.” With our focus on change and business process improvement, we have modified them and listed them in order of priority as they apply to facilitating and managing change:

  1. Integrity—“Do what you say you are going to do.” Without integrity and work ethic, all the other skills could be dangerous. Coplin incudes self-motivation and time management.
  2. Communications—the greatest and most innovative ideas are impotent if they are not adequately explained to others. Coplin separates verbal or oral communications from written and also emphasizes editing and proofing one’s work.
  3. Team Work—change never occurs in a vacuum and effective change relies on distributed ownership. Stakeholders need to embrace the change or it will fail. Coplin mentions one-on-one, relationship building, and influencing people through leadership.
  4. Infomediary—effectively receiving, archiving, and distributing information that each stakeholder needs to plan, operate, and control and the change effort to their level of satisfaction. Colin refers to gathering information and keeping it organized.
  5. Measurement—“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” so become adept with quantitative tools, statistics, graphs, and spreadsheets. Know how to objectively measure why something is important.
  6. Questioning—Few skills are harder to teach and yet as important as knowing the right question to ask. Subject matter experts abound in most organizations, they need to be stimulated by the right question in the proper context, and they can deliver.
  7. Problem Solving—While Coplin emphasizes identifying problems, developing possible solutions, and launching solutions, we would add the importance of properly analyzing the problems as well. Do not leap from identification to solution without a thorough understanding of the implications of the problem.

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.

Questions about Political Factors that Impact the Amount of Meeting Risk (4 of 5)


This is the fourth of a five-part discussion, providing a method for evaluating the relative risk of a meeting or workshop.

Method

The method follows the steps below:

  • Review the risk assessment questions from prior worksheets or those that follow.
  • Use the FAST risk analysis worksheets to capture your answers and compute a score.
  • Use this score as a basis for the risk-skill matching described in the risk-skill map section.

QuestionsPolitical Factors

POLITICAL FACTORS

The political factors are an indicator of the political and personality climate surrounding the project.  These factors heavily influence the success of a facilitated approach.

1. Business Attitude: What is the attitude of the business? The general attitude of the business toward the system is: understands the FAST process and its value (good), does not fully understand the process and is somewhat reluctant (fair), has no appreciation for the process and is anti-project (poor).

2. Management: How committed is upper management to the project? This question concerns upper level business management’s support and backing for the project.  Adequate commitment defines those behaviors needed to maintain a non-hostile atmosphere toward the project.  If the attitude is not enthusiastic, investigate and resolve.

3. Controversy: What is the level of controversy surrounding potential specifications? How controversial is the potential solution for the project?  Are there multiple solutions with very strong support for each and little chance of compromise?  Is a potential solution going to cause a controversial reorganization?

4. Participant Level: What is the job level of the participants? Sessions become more politically charged the higher the job grade involved.  Specify the general job grade level of participant.

5. Cooperative Users: How cooperative are organizational groups with each other? If this includes various organizational units, are they cooperative or competitive?  To what degree do they talk to each other?  This question refers to the people responsible for specifying the information—not necessarily the final doer.

6. Flexibility: The participants have how much flexibility and judgment in the final decision? The participants exercise what degree of flexibility and judgment—very high (67% – 100%), average (34% – 66%), or very little (0% – 33%).

7. Processing Flexibility: The participants have how much flexibility and judgment in process design? This question is similar to question 6 above but pertains to the participant’s freedom in process and analysis

8. Design Flexibility: The participants have how much flexibility and judgment in detailed design? This question is similar to questions 6 and 7 previously but addresses the participant’s freedom in detailed design content.

9. Stability: How stable is the organization? This question is looking for the capacity to identify and coordinate players in the project without frequent changes.  This question refers to the people responsible for specifying the information—not necessarily the final doer.

  • If the organization changes very little and the key players will be in their position the entire duration of the project—answer very stable (0).
  • If periodic reorganizations happen that may replace some of the key players—answer periodic reorganizations (1).
  • If reorganizations happen every 6 months or less in either organization—answer frequent reorganizations (2).
  • If reorganizations happen frequently in both the business and data processing side due to changes in management, unstable organizations, or major shifts in the business—answer very unstable (3).

Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, 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).

Daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

Questions about Complexity Factors that Impact the Amount of Meeting Risk (3 of 5)


This is the third of a five-part discussion, providing a method for evaluating the relative risk of a meeting or workshop.

Method

The method follows the steps below:

  • Review the risk assessment questions from prior worksheets or those that follow.
  • Use the FAST risk analysis worksheets to capture your answers and compute a score.
  • Use this score as a basis for the risk-skill matching described in the risk-skill map section.

QuestionsComplexity Factors

COMPLEXITY

The complexity factors measure the existing structure of the business and the volatility of the requirements.  This measures how difficult it will be to understand and organize the requirements.

  1. Project Type: The project may best be described as? not applicable (ie, a planning session), replacement for an existing process, modification for an existing process, or a new process. Is the project a replacement or a new effort?  If it is a replacement, is the current process primarily automated or manual?  A new effort would indicate that the business process is new.
  2. Replacement Percentage: What percentage of existing functions can be replaced on a one-to-one basis? For replacement projects, what percentage of the existing functions needs no change to processing rules and process flows?
  3. Project Complexity: What is the project complexity? From an engineering perspective what is the degree of complexity of the project?  Is this technically less complex, about the same, or technically more complex than other projects?
  4. Changes: How severe are the procedural changes with the proposed project?  From a business processing perspective, what degree of change will the new project introduce to the overall conduct of business?  When viewed through the eyes of the person carrying it on, will the project dramatically change the way business works?  Will revised business procedures be required for workflow?
  5. First Time: Are the proposed methods or procedures first of kind for the project team? Has the project team used the proposed methods and procedures before?  For example, if using a new methodology and a new tool to support it, does the project team have experience with it?
  6. First for Business: Are the proposed methods or procedures first of kind for the business? This question is similar to question 5 above but from the business side.  Does the business have experience with the methodology?  This question refers to the people responsible for creating the request—not necessarily the person working with the workflow.
  7. Business Acceptance: Will the business readily accept the proposed methods and procedures for developing the requirements? Will the business resist the methods used to extract and present the information?  If so, answer “no” to the question.  This question refers to the people responsible for specifying the information—not necessarily the final doer.
  8. Team Acceptance: Will the project team readily accept the proposed methods and procedures for developing the requirements? Will the project team resist the methods and procedures for information gathering and presentation.  If so, answer “no”.
  9. New Technology: Is new or unfamiliar technology needed? Can the business (the final doer) easily make the switch to the new equipment required by the project, or will an extensive training and installation effort be required?
  10. Success Dependent: Is the project’s success dependent on new technology? Does performance of new technology play a key role in the success of the project?
  11. Structure:  What is the rating of predetermined structure for the new project? The predetermined structure rating is:
    1. high—requires little or no procedural changes at the doer level,
    2. medium—requires a moderate or average level of procedural change at the doer level,
    3. low—requires a high amount of procedural changes and doer education.
  12. Outside Purchase: Are purchased or outside sources being used? Is the project based on outside purchases?  If so, to what degree?  Purchased software may also include reusable functionality modified in-house.
  13. Vendor Support: How good is vendor support of the outside purchases? What is vendor’s track record concerning support in general and the specific purchase in particular?  What support is available for in-house modified technology or software?

Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, 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).

Daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

Four Activities to Efficiently and Effectively Wrap-up a Meeting


Here is how to facilitate the four most important activities to properly wrap-up a meeting or workshop: 1-Review, 2-Next Steps, 3-Communications, and 4-Assessment. None of the following should ever be skipped entirely, so expand and contract based on your situation and constraints.

1-Review

Wrap-up

Do not relive the meeting; simply review the outputs, decisions, assignments, etc. Focus on the results and deliverable of each agenda step and not on how you got there. Participants do not need a transcription, they need to be reminded about the takeaways, and be offered the opportunity to ask for additional information or clarification before the meeting ends.

2-Next Steps

There are various methods and treatments of open items and formal assignments, such as roles and responsibilities. For additional and detailed support see How to Transform Your Responsibility Matrix Into a GANTT Chart for help building a RASI matrix and How to Manage the Parking Lot and Wrap-up Meetings for helping to manage the Parking Lot or Refrigerator. Once the next steps and assignments are clear, the meeting is nearly over.

3-Communications

Here you lead the participants to agree on what they will tell other stakeholders was accomplished during the meetings.  It is a good idea if the participants sound as if they were in the same meeting, so take a few moments to homogenize the rhetoric and help them agree on what they will tell people who ask. Minimally consider two audiences, and record the bullets or sound bites for each, namely: their superiors and other stakeholders (eg, peers or customers). See How to Communicate Meeting and Workshop Results for detailed support.

4-Assessment

Get feedback on how you did. Set up or mark a white board by the exit door and create two columns, typically PLUS and DELTA (ie, the Greek symbol ∆ or “change”) but also known as Benefits & Concerns and other cultural specific labels. Have each participant write down on a small Post-it® note, at least one thing they liked about the meeting (+) and one thing they would change (∆). Ask them to mount each note in its respective column as they exit. Again see  How to Manage the Parking Lot and Wrap-up Meetings for detailed support.

Effective leaders will not disband their meetings until participants have been offered a final opportunity to comment or question, action steps have been discussed, messaging has been agreed to, and feedback for continuous improvement has been solicited. Until next week, continue to fortify your skill set with tools and improvement suggestions available in many of our prior postings.

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.

Related articles

 

How to Build a Roles and Responsibility Matrix for Multiple Sites


 

Here is a roles and responsibilities matrix that can help you manage more complicated situations than the traditional RACI model (or its equivalent) discussed in How to Transform Your Responsibility Matrix Into a GANTT Chart.

Roles and Responsibilities for Multiple Sites

Using the table above as an illustrative template, following is the content suggested by this method that need to be developed and facilitated. The suggested content is coupled with additional explanations of the column headings.

The first section provides details about the Activity or Task that need to be assigned and completed. Since the details will not fit comfortably into a spreadsheet cell, the cell could be coded and refer to another document with additional details. As the details may or may not be complete at the time of the assignment, there may be a separate individual or group who takes on the role to author and provide the details. When initially logged, the details are either complete (y for yes) or not (n for not).

Since identical tasks may be carried out in multiple facilities, code the facilities in the Location section. There could be more than two facilities of course. If more than two, you might substitute “A” for all instead of “B” for both.

The WHO section captures who will be responsible for the activity or task at each respective location. If necessary, you can add an additional column indicating their backup or who may be supporting them.

The Frequency section refers to how often the activity or task needs to be performed. The due date captures WHEN the activity or task should be completed. For repetitive activities or tasks, the coding shown suggests the following:

  • W = weekly
  • M = monthly
  • Q = quarterly
  • A = annually
  • V = variable or ad hoc

The last section captures the intensity or concentration of effort required to complete the task. While frequently shown as hours per month, you could substitute FTE (ie, full-time equivalent) or whatever measurement works best in your culture.

Finally, you could append the table with a resource column that estimates how much financial capital or currency is required to support the activity or task. Clearly this is a tool that you can modify to your own situation, cultural expectations, and terms—so experiment freely.

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.

 

Taking Charge of Poorly Led Meetings When You are Not the Leader


We are not suggesting that you take over lame meetings but there are some things you can do to improve the meeting without stepping on the toes of the meeting leader.

Situation

The situation is this: You are attending a meeting. It is failing because the leader has neglected some or many of the rules of good meeting management. What can you do? Everyone is Sitting

Taking Charge

If all participants, including the leader, are sitting down, take a marker and stand up. Suggest to the leader that you can help by assisting in recording what is happening. Try to summarize what seems to be the purpose and direction (for lack of an agenda) of the meeting. You may even propose an agenda to finish the meeting. At that point, unless you are told to sit down and shut up, you become a facilitator. When appropriate, you may introduce your opinions, violating neutrality, but by standing up, recording on flip charts, and using facilitation skills to keep the discussion focused, you have effectively taken over using a consultative leadership style. Leader is Standing If the meeting leader is standing up, start by using facilitator skills, such as active listening, to get the group focused. If the leader is not effective in leading, this will not be a problem. Once you gain a role as a “focuser”, you may suggest to the leader that an agenda would help you understand the direction better (playing “dumb” is very effective in getting people to set direction without feeling threatened by you). You may suggest to the leader that he or she has so much to contribute, that you would be willing to stand up and do the flip chart recording.  Once you are up with a marker in your hand, you become the facilitator. In both cases, talk to the meeting leader after the meeting, in a non-threatening way, about how the next meeting can be made more effective.  You will begin to change the culture in your organization. Summary If you can get to be the only person standing and have a marker in your hand, you can take over a meeting by using facilitator skills. Keep these rules in mind though:

  • NEVER embarrass the leader
  • NEVER challenge the leader’s capabilities
  • It is NOT your meeting, you are only trying to help
  • If the leader resists your efforts, stop

For You If meetings are run well, you will enjoy the meetings that you attend more.  This is important because your attitude about your job will improve—even if it is good now. You should find:

  • Your time in meetings will not be wasted or unproductive—you will feel like you are accomplishing something.
  • People will look to you as a model of meeting management—and management in general. Senior executives find future executives in meetings—those who contribute and manage the meetings best.

For Your Company Even if you don’t change your entire company, changing one organization within the company benefits a great deal. In organizations where productive meetings are a way of life, they are able to do things others have not been able to do, such as:

  • Assure higher team participation and ownership
  • Better align planning practices with strategic goals
  • Complete projects/ programs correctly, on-time, and within budget
  • Implement teams that generate high-impact

Revolution or Evolution Look at your meeting culture and obstacles. Have poor meetings become an epidemic and people are openly complaining? If so, revolution may be the answer. Change the next meeting and let everyone know about it. Publish the fact that you are running the meeting in a totally new way. Publish the results of the meeting. Ask the attendees to answer—how was it better, how was it more productive? Publish results and suggest that such results can be achieved on a consistent basis if more meetings were conducted properly. If your organization is not having major problems follow an evolutionary approach. Change the next meeting you run—even a short staff meeting.  Talk to your peers and subordinates about the meeting approach. Suggest changes to the ways meetings can be held. See if there is an interest in getting more people trained to run better meetings. Publish the benefits of better meeting leadership. Example is Best People see you succeeding at meetings and they want to try what you have been doing. The more people that do better, the more others will want to follow suit, and follow you. Set the example and expect others to follow. Until next week, continue to fortify your skill set with tools and improvement suggestions available in many of our prior postings. 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.

Leadership Style Depends on Source of Ideas & Solution Ownership


Leadership style depends largely on the flow of content: Directive—one-way, Consultative—equal partner in content, and Exploratory—facilitative, not adding content.

Directive

A leader who predominantly gives direction and guidance with little participation or content added by the group characterizes this leadership style. Directive leadership is appropriate when the purpose is to share information quickly and clearly, such as briefings, staff meetings, symposiums, etc.

Consultative

This leadership style is characterized by consulting with colleagues and subordinates in an open and respectful, not manipulative manner, during the meeting. Consultative leadership is appropriate when the purpose is to have the group make decisions with contributions and equal participation from the leader.

Exploratory

This pure and optimal facilitation style should be the predominant approach used for task-building and assignment meetings. In an exploratory approach, the leader is neutral in terms of contributing content to the meeting, but is responsible for providing and managing the technique and agenda. In many task-related meetings, an outside facilitator is used to provide the exploratory leadership while the business owner participates with a consultative leadership style.

No One Style

There is neither single ‘right’ answer nor one right leadership style.  The appropriate style is dependent on the particular type of meeting situation and nature of the group. Leaders of teams that work well together can use the exploratory style more frequently. Leaders with contentious groups either need to be directive or employ a neutral facilitator for their meetings. Managing meetings is much like managing people—be flexible and use the most appropriate style depending on the situation.

Guidelines

The same skills are required to lead a meeting as are required to facilitate a meeting.  Keep the following guidelines in mind, especially when leading:

  • Plan and choose use the most appropriate leadership style before you get into the meeting. For leading without facilitation, you will probably by either directive or consultative. If you are a facilitator, be consistent at being exploratory.
  • Let the group know at the outset of the meeting which style of leadership you intend to use. They will respond positively if they know how to work with the style and role that you have chosen.
  • If you are being consultative, use facilitation skills to get the group to participate as much as possible.
  • Be aware of the influence you and your ideas have on the group. When you are not neutral, as when you are voicing an opinion about content, the members listen to your ideas. If they are dropping out, back off and become more exploratory.
  • A good meeting leader may be a good facilitator with an opinion, but be careful. When leading content is appropriate, follow the guidelines above as well as general guidelines for managing people. Lead, but never continually remind the group that you are the leader.

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.

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