Thursday, January 29, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
In his comment to our last post, Rick Lent told how indigenous cultures weave the archetypal role of the Warrior into their stories of empowerment. The characteristic of the Warrior is to "show up and choose to be present." A necessary act of leadership, he added.
Last week we had such a 'warrior' at a meeting we facilitated. This person, the meeting sponsor, appeared calm and assured throughout the meeting, though the energy of the group was intense and opinions were flying. During the debrief, she told me what was going on for her. "There was so much happening inside me," she said. "At first I felt like the host of a party, wanting everyone to be happy. Then I realized that the best I could do was let go of that feeling. I just settled in and paid attention to the experience I was having for the rest of the time. The conference was probably more of a success because I kept out of their way and trusted them to get to a good place."
Thursday, January 8, 2009
To confirm the efficacy of “just standing there,” check out the research on soccer penalty kicks. Scientists analyzed 286 free kicks (in which only the goalie can prevent a score). They found goalies dived to the right or left 94% of the time. This prevented scores fewer than 15% of the time. By staying put the goalie was twice as likely to make a save.
Why, then did goalies nearly always leap? For the same reason meeting leaders do. “They want to show that they’re doing something” said Michael Bar-Eli, one of the researchers. "Otherwise, they look helpless, like they don’t know what to do.” Next time you feel the urge to rescue that meeting, try just standing there. Take a deep breath. Sometimes all people need is that extra 10 seconds to take some responsibility.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
We don’t mean time-wasting, boring meetings. We mean meetings that matter--where people make decisions, solve problems, and implement plans. We—Marv and Sandra—have been running meetings around the world since the 1980’s. We’ve learned three things that led us to this blog:
1. All the world’s important business gets done in meetings.
2. Nearly everybody hates meetings.
3. To run meetings that people love, we had to UNLEARN most of the practices we used to rely on.
In our meetings, for example, we once met a lot resistance and defensiveness. We used to spend 80% of the time on 20% of the problems that had no solutions. We used to plunge ahead with meetings whether or not the right people were there. We used to have people set priorities by making lists and then voting on their top three. We used to worry ourselves sick trying to control the uncontrollable—people’s motivations, attitudes, and behavior. We used to worry about people taking responsibility.
NOT ANY MORE. Never again. No how, no way.
In this blog we will tell what we learned about making our meetings successful. More, we want this site to be interactive. We invite you to post your own best and worst experiences and to react to ours. What do you want to know about meetings? If you join us here you will have access to the best meeting advice from pros and amateurs all over the world. The information is free, and so is the dialogue. We hope you’ll take part, tell your friends, and log on often.
--Sandra Janoff & Marvin Weisbord, Co-Directors of Future Search Network, the international non-profit whose members run meetings in any culture, any language, for whatever people can afford. www.futuresearch.net for more info. For more on us, click at the right.