A Bookworm's Travels

Beware of Overconfident Subject Matter Experts, and be Prepared to Challenge

You and I have been victim of numerous false, urban legend. So please beware of overconfident subject matter experts. For example: The Great Wall of China is NOT visible from outer space You use a lot more than ten percent of your brain Relatively speaking, it’s much safer to take candy from strangers than from…

What Do You Need from Me?

It Is NOT What is in it for me? Rather, What do you need or want from me?

One difference between high performance groups and normal or under-performing groups of people is the perspective embraced by the participants during meetings and workshops. Most participants attend sessions with concern over What is in it for me? That is neither the right attitude nor the right question. What they should ask is “What do you…

bookend Method

Apply the Bookends Method to Avoid Wasting Time with Lists

The Purpose of our Bookends Method: Effective facilitators shy away from working lists in a linear fashion. The purpose of using our Bookends Method is to develop a natural habit of squeezing the grey matter towards the middle, rather than wasting too much time on it. The rationale of our Bookends Method Groups tend to argue about…

Ideation Ground Rules for Narrative Brainstorming

Five Narrative Brainstorming Methods to Generate Participant Input

The narrative Brainstorming tool comprises three steps; diverge, analyze, and converge.  Besides non-narrative methods of capturing participant input, consider the following options when gathering narrative input from your participants. With narrative brainstorming, first remember to embrace the rules of ideation. Prevent discussion while you are capturing their ideas. At the end of ideation, consider one last…

Robust Definition Tool

How to Build a Consensual Definition Making It Easier to Plan and Decide

To build an operational and consensual definition that your group can live with, in their own words, and with their understanding, use the following method. Since narrative descriptions alone may fall short of the entire meaning, we also want to support the consensual definition with illustration and examples. Use this robust method for consensual definitions…

The Purpose Tool

The Purpose Tool: Building the Strategic Plan for a Function, Process, Activity or Product

Assuredly, organizational executives are known to go off-site to conduct strategic planning sessions, building consensus around vision and strategy to lead an organization to the future it seeks. Yet infrequently, if ever, the Account Payable Department (or, some other function, process, activity or product) justifies off-site strategic planning sessions. They still need consensus around why…

Creativity Tool Example

Use the Creativity Tool to Launch Ideation When Brainstorming

The following Creativity tool stimulates the ideation activity of Brainstorming and enables people to express ideas and beliefs non-verbally, even if they cannot or will not do it orally. This is especially beneficial for developing visions of the business, system, or organization.  It should also be used when defining, especially complex products or processes. Creativity…

Effective Icebreakers (aka Meeting Sparks)

A Few Dozen Highly Effective Icebreakers (aka, Meeting Sparks)

Use icebreakers to get participants vocal and more participatory sooner by introducing themselves beyond name and title. The following examples can be used by virtual participants as well. When virtual, make sure all participants identify themselves before speaking. Questions to Launch Effective Icebreakers (aka Meeting Sparks) A simple yet effective-method: “If I were a . . …

The Trivium

One Essence, Three Aspects: The Rule of Thirds in the World of Facilitation

The rule of thirds can help guide facilitator. The Project Management Institute (PMI) refers to planning, analysis, and design as separate stages across project development. At ground level, the basic Use Case refers to Input>Process>Output as the basis for understanding requirements. Many of the world’s great religions of philosophy embrace the concept of a trinity.…

A Metaphor is Worth a Thousand Pictures

A Metaphor is Worth a Thousand Pictures: Explain Via Analogy

In the role of facilitator, you will discover a lot of power by using metaphors or analogies to explain your method. Avoid using the content and experience of the subject matter experts. In other words, a metaphor is worth a thousand pictures. To use “their” content violates neutrality.  Using a metaphor or analogy about which…