The purpose of this topic helps groups focus and normalize discussions when there are many symptoms, causes, preventions, and cures that should be considered.
Normalize Discussions — Rationale
While meetings waste much time because they lack structure, and most will generate some good ideas. Therefore, the problem with most meetings is that the group of participants do not know if they “got it all”, how they can measure their progress, and how much work remains to be done.
Normalize Discussions — Method
This approach can be modified and furthermore harmonizes with the second step of Brainstorming called Analysis. Therefore, with a complex problem, consider the following:
- Confirm the purpose of the solution state or the ideal condition. Describe the way things ought be when there is no problem and everything is working properly according to design.
- Fully define the problem state or condition, building consensus around the way things are at present.
- Identify all the potential symptoms that make it easy to characterize the problem or issue. Consider symptoms to be “externally identifiable factors” that can be seen and observed objectively, such as “tardiness.”
- For each symptom identify all possible causes (or consider Root Cause Analysis [aka RCA] or the Ishikawa Diagram).
- Identify the people, agents, or actors that will participate in the solution or plan (eg, participants, management, contractors, etc.).
- Populate a matrix with the agents against a timeline as shown below. The simplest way to approach the x dimension separately covers the before and after phases (such as what can be done to prevent each cause and what can be done to cure for each cause by each agent).
- With the group at large or using sub-teams with assigned areas, develop all potential responses or actions with every agent across the timeline (see below) with each cause, one at a time.
Don’t ruin your career or reputation with bad meetings. Register for a class or forward this to someone who should. Taught by world-class instructors, MG RUSH professional facilitation curriculum focuses on practice. Each student thoroughly practices and rehearses tools, methods, and approaches throughout the week. While some call this immersion, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.
Our courses also provide an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, and 40 CDUs from IIBA, as well as 3.2 CEUs for other professions. (See individual class descriptions for details.)
Want a free 10-minute break timer? Signup for our once-monthly newsletter HERE and receive a timer along with four other of our favorite facilitation tools, free.