Value Stream Mapping for Knowledge Work and Services

Jun 3, 2017 by Dan Prock in meeting design (11 minute read)

Every organization exists to create value. Companies work to create value for customers and stakeholders. Education exists to create value for students and the community. Non-profits create value for members and society at large. Government should create value for the governed.

The creation of value is the point, but we all know that it isn't always where we spend the bulk of our time or energy. Time, complexity, changing regulations and customer requirements all conspire to gum up our processes with activities and delays that do nothing to add value to customers. The problem isn't that people show up to work every day wanting to spend their time on meaningless chores. Yet despite best intentions:

A bad system will beat a good person every time.

W. Edwards Deming

Running a Value Stream Mapping Workshop can help teams find and eliminate those wasteful activities that provide no value to customers nor meaning for employees.

Lean thinking has a 25-year history in manufacturing, where you can find lots of examples for how to create and use value stream maps. These VSMs illustrate raw parts arriving from suppliers, parts fabrication, movement, scheduling and factory assembly lines, packaging, shipping, and distribution channels.

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

The Leader's Guide for Making Decisions in Meetings

Apr 20, 2017 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, meeting design (56 minute read)

I used to believe that everything was a choice.

Whether I ate healthy food or not: a choice. Whether I obsessed over past slights or whether I forgave and moved on: a choice. I believed every action I took, and every action everyone takes, began with a decision to act.

I believed this choosing applied to organizations too. Do you run decent meetings, or do you ignore the ineptitude and hope it will go away on it’s own? That’s a choice.

Image credit: Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash

Yep. That sounded right to me. I’m big on self-responsibility that way.

Lately, my conviction has been shaken. I no longer believe every action follows a choice.

Now I believe instead that every action is a reaction. This goes for actions taken by organizations and those taken by individuals.

Begging the question: a reaction to what?

Read More...

Topics: leadership & facilitation, meeting design

Coping with travel restrictions: When meeting face-to-face matters (and what to do when you can’t)

Mar 17, 2017 by Nancy Settle-Murphy in leadership & facilitation, meeting design (14 minute read)

Introducing Nancy Settle-Murphy
It’s my pleasure to welcome renowned virtual collaboration expert
Nancy Settle-Murphy to the blog.

Recently I gave a talk about taking government meetings online, and was asked how to succeed when the meeting was particularly sensitive. I didn’t have time to give the question the answer it deserved, so afterwards, I started looking for better information on this topic. I found Nancy, and knew she had the answer we needed to hear.

Nancy’s been answering this exact question - when you should meet face-to-face, and steps to take when you’re forced to meet online - for many years in her work for companies and organizations of all sizes. I’m thrilled she agreed to revisit her guidelines with us and share them here.

– Elise Keith, Lucid founder

Whenever possible, I recommend in-person meetings.

I know travel can be expensive and time consuming. Sometimes it's worth it.

Successful meetings connect people to the work at hand and to each other. We forge connections more easily with people we can see. While video conferencing gets better all the time, it can’t compete with being there.

Yet despite our best intentions, meeting in person isn’t always possible. Weather, politics, injury, family – everyone has a lot of life to juggle, and meeting travel gets dropped.

Read More...

Topics: leadership & facilitation, meeting design

A Mindfulness-Based Technique for Leading Sensitive Discussions

Feb 23, 2017 by Dr. Patricia Thompson in meeting design (7 minute read)

I’m thrilled to introduce Dr. Patricia Thompson to the community of meeting designers and coaches featured on our blog. I first learned about Dr. Thompson and her work through an article she wrote for Harvard Business Review titled How Mindfulness Helped a Workplace Diversity Exercise.

In the article, she talks about using mindfulness-based discussion techniques to help an ineffective diversity team break through their barriers and learn to work together.

Before you get the wrong idea, Dr. Thompson isn’t a diversity coach. Instead, she helps executives cultivate positive organizational cultures through selection, leadership development, and team building. She also teaching mindfulness techniques that they can apply to make their workplaces more engaged, trusting, and healthy places to be.

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

Meeting Design: How to Create Standard Agendas for Your Business

Feb 11, 2017 by Elise Keith in meeting design (38 minute read)

Are successful meetings what your company sells?
Is your non-profit’s mission to help others run more effective meetings?

Unless you are a professional facilitator or a meeting software company, the answer is probably “No.”

Do you need the meetings you lead to succeed? To help you win sales of the product you sell, and influence those who can advance your mission?

If you care about business effectiveness, then the answer is “Yes”.

You need meetings to function well, but the meeting itself is a means to an end; not an important product of your business.

To ensure important meetings get results, organizations with a high level of meeting performance maturity rely on a set of standard agendas.

Our Way!

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

How To Refresh Your Strategic Plan (in 4 Hours or Less)

Feb 3, 2017 by Paul Axtell in meeting design (5 minute read)

good-plan-today-better-than-perfect.jpg

We all know (or should know) that strategic planning is a necessity for business. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there.

Updating and ensuring that your plan is still viable is also a necessity. According to an Ernst & Young study, a full 66% of corporate strategy is never executed with one explanation being that they simply no longer reflect your business or circumstances.

Finding the right time for your group to get together and take a fresh look at your future can be difficult when the daily details of running the business are staring you in the face. Still, it’s imperative to know that your future plans still make sense and your current projects are aligned with that future.

Today’s blog covers an outline that can guide you through a morning of conversation to get back in touch with the future you created a while back and adjust it as necessary.

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

10 No-Nonsense Tips from "No More Boring Meetings"

Jan 14, 2017 by Tricia Harris in meeting design, book review (4 minute read)

After more than 25 years of facilitating meetings and training groups, Beatrice Briggs, founder and director of the International Institute for Facilitation and Change, believes she's seen almost every group facilitation situation imaginable.

Yet, she continues to receive emails from colleagues that surprise her.

Numerous facilitators around the world teach managers and teams about the benefits of better meetings, yet few leaders actually understand why it's so important.

Heads of industry continue to focus on cash flow, operations, and reducing waste while ignoring the time, energy and money squandered in unproductive meetings.

Inspired by the many stories she's heard over the years, "No More Boring Meetings" aims to encourage teams and managers to reap the great benefits offered from their time meeting together.

Read More...

Topics: meeting design, book review

The Surprising Link Between Climate Change and Virtual Meetings

Dec 17, 2016 by Elise Keith in meeting design (20 minute read)

In November, I was pleased to be invited to present our advice for running successful virtual meetings to the Government of Alberta as part of their Greening Government Speaker Series.

The series goal is to stimulate interest, discussion and action to help governments reduce their carbon footprint and support a sustainable approach to operation. (Learn more about the series on the MCCAC website.)

While our team cares about climate change deeply and we work to do what we can, it would be more than a stretch to say this is an area we're typically asked to speak on.

So what prompted the invitation?

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

How often should you meet? Selecting the right meeting cadence for your team.

Dec 3, 2016 by Elise Keith in meeting design (30 minute read)

What is a meeting cadence and why does it matter?

In our post about why teams meet, I outlined two basic rules:

  1. Meet to maintain momentum.
  2. Meet to change course.

Kickoffs, retrospectives, emergency meetings, planning sessions, workshops, sales, negotiations - these all fall under the definition of “changing course”.

A team’s regularly scheduled meetings should maintain work momentum and strengthen the relationships between team members. The frequency of these regular meetings sets the team’s work cadence.

We use the term cadence here very deliberately. You may find others referring to this pattern of regular meetings as the team’s meeting rhythm.

If the words cadence and rhythm bring to mind pictures of rowers at the oar, you’ve got the right idea.

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

Meeting Execution: The Underlying Structure of Meetings that Work

Nov 14, 2016 by Elise Keith in meeting design (22 minute read)

Behind every effort to improve an organization’s meetings, you’ll find a larger initiative focused on increasing productivity and improving culture.

Organizations that run effective meetings as a matter of course do so because it improves the productivity and cohesion of teams as a whole, in a way that individual productivity improvements can’t match.

To maximize the productivity of a meeting, and of meetings in general, it helps to understand exactly what you expect meetings to produce.

Previously, we asserted that meetings should “quickly create shared perspective”.

Let’s unpack that one. What do you get from teams that have a shared perspective?

Read More...

Topics: meeting design