Blog

Setting Strategy Via a Participatory Approach

While listening to the stories of friends working in a range of institutions, such as public schools, corporations, and non-profits, I hear increasing frustration with how strategy gets determined by a small group “at the top” and rolled down. The people who implement a strategy or new program often do not have a voice to… Read more

Engaging Across Difference

Many of us are working hard to generate solutions to today’s complex and interrelated challenges in ways that are resilient and beneficial for all. This requires new and creative ways to bring people together who have not traditionally worked together. This is hard work. As a facilitator, I had multiple experiences with groups where not… Read more

Strengthening Community Connections in Meeting Design

“The essential challenge is to transform the isolation and self-interest within our communities into connectedness and caring for the whole.” – Peter Block One promising area for reconnecting people in communities is the Farm to School movement. Communities across the country are implementing initiatives to increase the amount of local food served in school cafeterias,… Read more

How Urgency Disrupts Collaboration – Part 2

This post builds on Part 1. Here we explore the question: How can we capitalize on the full benefits of teamwork and do our best thinking, even when the process is moving quickly? Here are some tips: When things need to move fast, have pre-emptive conversations about decision-making and input. The team can agree up… Read more

How Urgency Disrupts Collaboration – Part 1

In experiences with three teams lately, I have noticed that something happens to teamwork and the commitment to collaboration when a deadline and related sense of urgency comes into the picture. As someone who thinks a lot about how we create the conditions for groups to perform at their highest collective potential, I have been… Read more

Time to Rethink Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a classic method for getting a group to generate ideas. A topic is suggested, people speak up with their ideas and suggestions, and someone writes them down. The technique is so commonly used and assumed to work, I was surprised to learn that research shows this technique is actually not effective. Keith Sawyer,… Read more