Facilitation

Transformational teamwork

This story of transformational teamwork begins three weeks ago when I was the only person standing between a roomful of professionals and the start of their Labor Day weekend. We were at the Oregon coast for a team retreat, tackling five distinct topics.

Under the circumstances I was impressed to see nobody drag their heels. Nor […]

By |September 17th, 2019|Facilitation|0 Comments

Invisibly lead a room

Can a facilitator be effective if they’re invisible? I don’t mean literally, of course. But in the sense that their touch is so light you barely know they’re there.

It depends.
When less is more
I recently led a meeting in a beautiful conference room at Mill City Museum in Minneapolis. A 12-person council gathered to kick off […]

By |July 29th, 2019|Facilitation, Leadership|0 Comments

Who’s doing your thinking?

Who’s doing your thinking? You think you are. True enough, it’s your neurons firing off. But first, consider the way that other people’s thinking led you to where you are today. All your studies in school. All the norms you picked up from family and society. Then, start noticing how other people’s thinking literally shapes […]

By |May 31st, 2019|Facilitation, Innovation|0 Comments

Collaborative leaders shine

Observing what makes collaborative leaders effective when they step forward in a group never ceases to amaze me. Are they the ones with big job titles? Often not. Emotional intelligence in collaborative undertakings matters more than authority.

A collaborative leader, with a single gesture, can resolve inadvertent voids created by others on the team. Sometimes it […]

By |February 12th, 2019|Facilitation, Leadership|0 Comments

Nine traits of collaborators

Before defining collaborator traits that can make any group’s effort much less effortful, an obvious truth is worth naming. No one has to collaborate. It’s not a mandatory part of life. Collaboration is a choice, an act of free will. An individual’s motivation usually ties to their personal or professional goals. I want to get […]

By |January 22nd, 2019|Facilitation, Leadership|1 Comment

Breakthrough via collaboration

Throughout history people have been motivated to band together. To build villages, trade and barter, rebel against injustice. And, create. Today there’s debate about whether collaboration is wearing out ambitious professionals in matrixed organizations. Fair enough. Coordinating with others can take longer than making decisions on your own, and an excess of meetings, especially if […]

By |December 26th, 2018|Arts & culture, Facilitation, Innovation, Leadership|1 Comment

Ask beautiful questions

Solutions are nice. Questions are better. The quality of our questions shapes not only the answers available to us, but our entire life. Asking great questions will change a person’s trajectory.

If you want to get to the root of any tough situation, you’ll ask hard questions, the ones you’d rather avoid because you instinctively know […]

Marco Polo: close or far?

Podcasts and pool games. Do they have anything in common? I stumbled on one commonality when I listened to a recent episode of the Slate Political Gabfest, one of my favorite weeklies. David Plotz hosts with regulars John Dickerson and Emily Baselon. Every few months they stage a live audience conundrum show. December’s included participation […]

By |February 28th, 2018|Continuous Improvement, Creativity, Facilitation|0 Comments

Start with genuinely seeing

The simple act of sitting down with a client at the start of a new project is invigorating. In remarkably short order a rich field of vision opens for genuinely seeing. Events leading to the project’s formation, the motivation of people in the room and beyond, specific examples of alignment or conflict — it is […]

By |February 6th, 2018|Creativity, Facilitation, Leadership|0 Comments

After the retreat, keep the high

A retreat that earns high marks in my book generates a breakthrough. A big beautiful question leads to new insight. A path forward becomes clear. A fragmented team re-aligns.

Then what?

Sure, many teams move forward smoothly—enacting plans, achieving goals and realizing visions and despite all obstacles. Those are the teams everyone wants to be on. But […]

By |January 10th, 2018|Facilitation, Leadership|0 Comments