You must consider these three questions before you take on the role of session leader for any meeting or workshop. Prompted by “Three (Incredibly Simple) Questions The Most Successful People Use To Change The World,” Forbes contributor Mike Maddock published an article that could have been cut and paste (figuratively) from the FAST Facilitative Leadership manual. Indeed, to lead a successful meeting, the three questions (slightly modified) should be considered for every meeting or workshop, especially when you are the session leader.

  1. What is the deliverable?(Forbes: What’s the outcome I want?)

Three Questions

Start with the end in mind. What does DONE look like? Where are you going? How do you know when you get there? For meetings, our focus is clearly on output (ie, a thing) rather than outcome (ie, a new condition) since we are typically unable to generate new outcomes before the meeting ends. We can however generate the input required to generate new outcomes, and that is the purpose of the meeting.

  1. What are the problems and challenges I foresee? (Forbes: What stands in my way?)

Emphasizing the importance of thorough preparation and interviewing meeting participants in advance, meeting time should be invested when collaboration is required or consensus is absolutely necessary. What people, issues, or components of the culture are going to get in the way of collaboration and consensus? Here answers yield insight necessary to build optimal agendas and activities for each specific group.

  1. Who has already created this type of deliverable? (Forbes: Who has figured it out already?)

Chances are, you are not the first session leader in the history of mankind to face your type of deliverable and situational challenges. Find others that have already done it. The superior of one FAST alumnus calls it, “Once stolen, half done.” Especially explore others within your own organization through formal networks like a Community of Practice (CoP) or Community of Excellence (CoE) and informal relationships and friendships. Learning from the experience of others will jumpstart your chances of success, so please do not be shy about asking for help.

Reply with any questions you might have by commenting below. For additional methodology and team-based meeting support for your change initiatives, refer to our store or consider the book “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 SolutionImprove 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.