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Facilitating and Managing Meetings

Facilitating and Managing Meetings

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Facilitating and Managing Meetings

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  1. Facilitating and Managing Meetings Minder Chen Associate Professor of MIS California State University Channel Islands

  2. Outline Manage meetings What is facilitation Creative problem solving process

  3. Why Meeting? Down with the meeting? “This ignores one of the most important reasons for having meetings. People are bad at communicating in just one form (e.g. written or verbal). Communication involves what we say, our body language, and how we say things with tone and emphasis on words. You lose a lot of that when you limit team communication to just written notes or institute artificial time limits. A meeting should go as long as it needs to in order to get the work done, and people should not be afraid of personal face to face interaction.” Status meeting should be emilimtated. Meetings are only for really important matters that need a full discussion.

  4. Characteristics of Negative Meetings • 83% -- Drifting off the subject • 77% -- Poor preparation • 74% -- Questionable effectiveness • 68% -- Lack of listening • 62% -- Verbosity of participants (keep talkinh) • 60% -- Length • 51% -- Lack of participation From “Achieving Effective Meetings – Not Easy But Possible” by Bradford D. Smart in a survey of 635 executives.

  5. What Are People Looking for in Effective Meetings • 88% -- allow all attendees to participate • 66% -- define a meeting’s purpose • 62% -- address each item on the agenda • 59% -- assign follow up action • 47% -- record discussion • 46% -- invite only essential personnel • 36% -- write an agenda with time frames Source: GM Consultants, Pittsburgh, 1993 Sample Meeting:

  6. Meeting Types and Purposes • Briefing meetings: Inform • Consultation meetings: Consult • Planning meetings: Develop plans • Review and Evaluation meetings (Status Meeting) • Business meetings • Make decisions or reach consensus • Create understanding • Working meetings: • Develop ideas • Solve problems • Team formation meetings: • Encourage enthusiasm and initiative • Provide a sense of direction • Create a common purpose

  7. Making Decisions in a Meeting

  8. Effective Meetings Source: “Successful meetings don’t just happen; they’re planned and managed.” They achieve the meeting's objective. They take up a minimum amount of time. They leave participants feeling that a sensible process has been followed.

  9. OARR: Clarify Roles and Rules Outcome (Objectives) Rules Roles Agenda

  10. Visual Template

  11. Meeting Objectives Do you want a decision? Do you want to generate ideas? Are you getting status reports? Are you communicating something? Are you making plans?

  12. SMART Objectives How to define objectives • S: Specific • M: Measurable • A: Attainable • R: Realistic • T: Time-bound

  13. Outcomes Task outcomes: an action plan, a solution, a decision, an informed group Process outcomes: a cooperative attitude, commitment, motivated team members

  14. Prepare Agenda • To prepare an agenda, consider the following factors: • Priorities – what absolutely must be covered? • Results – what do need to accomplish at the meeting? • Participants – who needs to attend the meeting for it to be successful? • Sequence – in what order will you cover the topics? • Timing – how much time will spend on each topic? • Date and Time – when will the meeting take place? • Place – where will the meeting take place?

  15. Meeting Agenda Adapted from

  16. Various Roles in Facilitated Meetings Agenda Outcomes Rules Facilitator Public displays served as group or organizational memory Scribe (Technographer) Roles Participants Source: Adapted from

  17. Participants of Meetings • Essential: People who… • Have relevant information or expertise • Will make the final decision • Are affected by or will carry out a decision • Might significantly prevent or interfere with the implementation of a decision • Optional: • Individuals with higher functional responsibility • People with a general interest in the meeting information or outcomes • Staff or support members who will be indirectly affected by the outcome • People with similar problems or work situations

  18. Ground Rules • Ground rules are guidelines for desired behaviors that enhance the process of the meeting and assist in accomplishing its purpose (task). • They are standards that help clarify expectations regarding participation and can be used to address counterproductive behavior. • Some example ground rules are: - Listen to the person who is talking - One person talks at a time, without interruption - Stay on track - No side conversations - Be creative - Communicate directly, honestly, and respectfully - Hold questions until a person has finished speaking - Limit contributions to five minutes • It is a good idea to ask a group to suggest changes or additions to add to an initial listing of ground rules.

  19. Facilitating the Meeting At the end of each agenda item, quickly summarize what was said, and ask people to confirm that that's a fair summary. Note items that require further discussion (open issues at parking lot). Watch body language and make adjustments as necessary. Maybe you need a break. (Flexibility) If certain people are dominating the conversation you may need to stop them, make a point of asking others for their ideas. (Full participation by everyone) Ensure the meeting stays on topic. (Focus ) List all tasks that are generated at the meeting. Make a note of who is assigned to do what, and by when. (Follow up Actionable Items) At the close of the meeting, quickly summarize next steps and inform everyone that you will be sending out a meeting summary/minutes.

  20. Managing Meetings as a Problem-Solving Process A meeting Agenda Agenda item 1 Agenda Item 2 Agenda Item 3 … A problem solving process Problem-solving activity or task 1 Problem-solving activity or task 2 Problem-solving activity or task 3 … • Meeting Roles • Facilitator: Design, set up, and monitor the meeting • Participant: Participate in a meeting

  21. Creative Problem-Solving Process and TeamSpirit TeamSpirit is a Web-based group decision support system / creative group problem solving system. Every user can create and facilitate meetings. Creative Problem Solving Process TeamSpirit Toolkit • Share information • Discussion forum • Multi-Aspect brainstorming • BrainstormingIdea consolidation • Rate alternative • Rank alternatives • Select alternatives • Multicriteria evaluation Idea generation Divergent Thinking Idea Organization Convergent Thinking Idea Evaluation

  22. Divergent and Convergent Thinking

  23. Diverge vs. Converge Source: Gerard J. Puccio, etc., Creative Leadership: Skills That Drive Change, 2010, Sage Publication.

  24. Benefits of Defer Judgment Source: Gerard J. Puccio, etc., Creative Leadership: Skills That Drive Change, 2010, Sage Publication.

  25. Learning Style Inventory (Kolb) Feeling How we think about things How we do things Watching Source: and

  26. Mind and Hand MIT's motto is "Mens et Manus," which translates from the Latin to "Mind and Hand." 

  27. David Kolb’s Learning Styles

  28. Problem-Solving Life Cycle Idea generation Idea generation Idea Organization Idea Organization Idea Evaluation Idea Evaluation Problem-Solving Life Cycle Identify problems or opportunities Generic Problem Solving Process Create/design solutions or systems Idea generation Implement solutions or systems Idea Organization Idea Evaluation

  29. Universal Aspects of Processes • All processes are reconciliation of the tension between the “top line” freedoms of our visions and “bottom-line” constraints of current realities. • All processes move through stages, with periods of crisis and periods of progress. • All highly evolved Processes rely on simpler, repeating processes. • All processes move through periods of unpredictability (Garbage can model-freedoms-creativity) and periods of predictability (realities).


  31. CPS: Creative Problem Solving

  32. CPS v3.0

  33. Teamwork Classifications Same Time Different Time Project/team rooms Shared offices Same Place Multi-media presentation systems Key-pad based voting tools Facilitated meetings using a PC Networked PCs based GDSS TeamSpirits Different Place E-mail Shared document database Group authoring tools Discussion forum Screen sharing Audio/video conferencing Web-based desktop conferencing (Skype) Instant messaging

  34. Orientating to Facilitation • What is facilitation? • When is facilitation needed? • What’s the biggest challenge in facilitation? • Understanding process in action. * Source: "An Orientation to Facilitation - Fundamental Principles" from The Grove Consultants International, 1994.

  35. Definition of Facilitation Facilitation is the Art of Leading People through Processes toward agreed-on objectives in a manner that encourages Participation, Ownership, and Productivity from all Involved.

  36. What is Facilitation? Facilitation is the Art of Leading Group Processes • Groups need guidance • Poor processes are costly • Facilitation is process leadership • Facilitation is key part of management • You don't need authority to facilitate

  37. What is Facilitation? • Facilitators will work to help achieve the group’s desired outcomes, not their own. • Facilitator's leadership will be focused on making process suggestionsand following the agenda, while usually staying away from content-related positions. • Facilitators will mediate any disagreements over how to proceed in a consensus-oriented manner.

  38. Handling Group Dynamics • Understand and handle group dysfunction • Build group identify • Get the right people • Prevent scope creep • Stay flexible • When should the facilitator interrupt • Start on time • Handle conflict • Chill the dominator • Encourage shy users • Stifle the sidebar conversation

  39. Ground Rules of Facilitation • The facilitator leads each session; • The facilitator calls for suggestions from the participants; • No criticism (of anyone's suggestion) by anyone is allowed; and • All suggestions should be recorded on the board (even the crazy ones). •

  40. In Successful Facilitation ... • Everyone takes responsibility for outcomes. • Participants feel safe. • Everyone participates. • Meetings and processes generate momentum and results. • People enjoy the process.

  41. Understand the Challenge “A problem well stated/defined/framed is a problem half solved.” --Charles F. Kettering Framing problems Constructing opportunities Exploring data

  42. Reframe Problem as an Opportunity Your job is to imagine the flip side of the problem.

  43. Different Perspectives and Expectations Process/ Relationship Oriented Past/ Historically Oriented Future/ Change Oriented Work/ Task Oriented Two sets of competing expectations vie for a group’s attention. At first they seem contradictory. But the tensions and efforts to resolve them are actually a key source of creativity in a group.

  44. The Biggest Challenge in Facilitation Balancing Different Expectation • Facilitation requires understanding competing points of view. • Backward- and forward- looking orientations. • Memory “Freeze Frames” past experience for historic reference. • Expectations for change are sparked by visions of the future. • Task and relationship expectations mediate this tension in the here and now. • Work-oriented perspectives focus on concrete results. • Relationship-oriented expectations flow from feelings about the process  Go with the flow • Facilitation is a performance art.

  45. Establish Ground Rules for Known Problems • Dominators: People who talk too much • Attackers: People who get personal • Taskmasters: People who get impatient • Contrarians: People who argue with anything you propose • Drifters: People who come in and out • Detailers: People who don’t want the process to be effective

  46. Understanding and Dealing with Problem Behaviors Silent Members: Could be an introvert. Did you give him or her enough information during the meeting to allow reflection? Be cautious, but try asking, “Joe, what are your thoughts on this question?” Challengers: Consistently challenges the presenter’s ideas and opinions. Acknowledge that the Challenger’s ideas or opinion have merit and say, “I will need to think about the effect that has on my thinking,” or ask the group what they think about the idea/opinion expressed. Out in Left Field: May be confused or misinformed. Be patient. Listen and rephrase. Compliment their asking questions. Get others to help you understand. Complainers: Defer to the group. Ask, “How are other people feeling about this?” Dominators: Talks often. Ask the rest of the group, “What does anyone else think about this point?” or “Who else has some ideas?” Redirect your body language in another direction. Long-Winded Members: Talks long. Wait a minute for a pause, however brief, and interrupt, saying, “Could you summarize your idea in a few words so I can write it down?” Celebrate diversity. Side Conversations. Talks to someone else at length. If possible, you can move to where they are. Try, “What are your thoughts on the point just raised?” or “Are we missing out on something important?” Side-Trackers: Brings up issues that appear not to relate. Try, “I’m not clear how that fits in with what we are discussing. Can you help me?” Get others to help you understand. The Side Tracker’s issues can be placed in a “Parking Lot.” (Open Issues)

  47. Probing Questions to Clarify Participants’ Thinking

  48. Six Hats Thinking Source:

  49. Six Thinking Hats • Information/Objective: (White) - considering purely what information is available, what are the facts? • Creativity (Green) - statements of provocation and investigation, seeing where a thought goes • Optimistic/positive response (Yellow) - logic applied to identifying benefits, seeking harmony • Emotions/intuitive (Red) - intuitive or instinctive gut reactions or statements of emotional feeling without any justification • Discernment/negative (Black) - logic applied to identifying reasons to be cautious and conservative • Process/Meta thinking (Blue)

  50. Dealing with Emotion Feelings: Accept, acknowledge, and process feelings in an organized way so the group can move on to facts. Facts: Objectively generate and develop facts so the group can use them to identify and analyze problems. Solutions: Have the group generate potential solutions, select one of them, and make decisions about implementing and evaluating it.