Tips, Tools & Techniques

Looking for new ideas? Seeking information about how to optimize your team’s performance? Hoping to find a new approach for your next big meeting? Explore our Tips section for quick access to a range of effective resources, models and more.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for in this section, move to the Dialogue section and ask us for direct assistance. We’d be happy to create a tailor-made solution just for you.

Meetings and Motivation

Meetings. We can’t live with them. We can’t do away with them. They serve a critical purpose, but can be deathly dull and, often, less-than-productive.

What’s to be done?

Remember the 6 P’s:

  • Purpose: Ensure that everyone in attendance understands the essential need behind the meeting.
  • Path: Detail the path and destination of the project and each particular meeting within the project’s scope.
  • People: Identify the specific roles and responsibilities of all members.
  • Performance: Determine the desired outcomes for the meeting and the specific performance measures to track the success of the effort.
  • Plan: Craft a detailed plan for the life of the project and ensure that this plan includes milestone measurement dates and contingencies.
  • Product: Ensure that the focus of the meeting and the project relate to “output” or results vs. “activities” and tasks.

Process Power

Work, work, work.

Do your “working processes” work?

Processes are essential to creating positive work-flow. When they are structured correctly they enhance the environment. When they are structured incorrectly they can cause significant damage to productivity, morale and product output.

Check your organizational process health. Consider whether you have met these criteria in developing new or examining existing processes.

Process Health Check:

  • Vision: Is everyone involved clear about the desired result or end state?
  • Direction: Do people have a shared understanding of where this activity takes the company, the team and the members as individuals?
  • Competency: Does everyone involved have the skills, knowledge and abilities to be successful process participants? Is there appropriate or sufficient leadership?
  • Content: Is the process well defined? Has it been broken down into manageable steps? Can these steps be replicated again and again with the same quality of results? Are there any redundant or unnecessary steps that could be eliminated or streamlined?
  • Resources: Are the appropriate and necessary resources readily available?
  • Reserves: Have contingency plans been established? Are the resources necessary to implement these plans in place?
  • Feedback: Is there an ongoing way to track the success or failure of the process? Do process improvements get incorporated on a regular basis?

Meeting Tips

Process Health Fair:

  • Invite all of the process team members to participate in an organizational health fair.
  • Ask each member to consider the questions listed in the process health check. Break the large group in to small sub-groups.
  • Assign each sub-group a topic to consider and ask them to brainstorm ideas about ways to improve the process. Give the groups a short time window for the brainstorming exercise.
  • Reconvene the large group and share the ideas from the sub-group discussions.
  • Post all of the ideas on a flipchart or white-board and ask members to rank the top five ideas in order of priority. Members then mark the list indicating their top five by placing a number by the ideas they feel are most relevant.
  • Identify the large group’s top five priority choices by compiling scores.
  • Make plans to address these key issues. Include deliverable dates and responsible parties in these plans.

Triumphant Teams

Team performance is impacted by so many factors. Resources, organizational changes, team member personalities and proclivities, and leader competency can all have impacts on teams. These issues and a host of other inputs can significantly help or hinder team success.

By predicting impacts before they hit the team, we can avoid or take the best advantage of their potential effects.

Teams – Inputs and Impacts

  • Ask your team to consider all of the realistic inputs to their work together. List these inputs on the left side of your flipchart, whiteboard, or computer’s overhead projection screen.
  • Invite the group to then consider all of the possible ways in which these inputs could impact the team. List these impacts on the right side of your content capture page.
  • Now, ask the team to connect the inputs on the left with the impacts on the right by drawing a line from one side of the chart to the other.
  • Once this is done, you will probably discover that several inputs may impact the team in similar ways.
  • Now, focus on the right side of the chart and identify the impacts which had the greatest number of connections from inputs. Prioritize these impacts based on the potential effect they may have on team performance.
  • Ask the team to consider ways to lessen negative impacts or enhance positive impacts.
  • Develop a shared plan to address the most critical elements.