Laura Gramling, President, EnSpark Consulting
There are ordinary meetings and there are pivotal meetings. A pivotal meeting brings leaders together with the explicit goal of shifting the direction of your organization. It could be about taking advantage of new opportunities or dealing with tough problems. But the key is that leaders should come out of a pivotal meeting better aligned and resolved for action.
Done right, a pivotal meeting can accelerate the process of change. A good pivotal meeting has three stages: Groundwork, the meeting itself, and post-meeting reinforcement.
Pivotal Meetings Stages
Groundwork: Pivot Point Analysis
Pre-meeting work involves fact-finding and discovery of the core issues – the pivot point analysis. Armed with organizational data, a series of short structured interviews with key leaders and an environmental scan, you start unlocking the drivers of change, the essentials come into focus and the meeting itself becomes immensely more productive.
Pivotal Meeting: Focus on Context and Design
The pivotal meeting itself must run in a different way than the usual sort of meeting, in order to emphasize the need for change. Professional facilitation is essential as is a collaborative meeting design.
From the start, the pivotal meeting enables profound dialogues, providing everyone a voice and enabling your leaders to step up, be accountable and generate innovative solutions. In many cases, this means enabling small group conversations that dig into the issues, and bring back conclusions to the larger group. In larger meetings (60 plus leaders), a “theme team” can present top leaders with key issues in real time to enable a more complete picture to emerge.
Broadening participation is key. The meeting becomes the moment of shift and having the right mix of the one’s who will get it done and those that bring diverse viewpoints accelerates implementation and accelerates results.
For implementation to generate innovation and improvements, a new narrative has take hold. How we operate, what we do and our BIG why must cascade throughout the organization. All leaders must be committed to the pivot and be held accountable for enabling results. Individual’s must know their roles, understand how their actions contribution and align to success. Both informal and formal structures will need to be developed to generate not only a flurry of immediate improvements but also have an eye towards sustainable and reliable solutions. And the structures must be inspired – contributing and aligning to the pivot.
Facilitating Pivotal Meetings has become our consulting calling card.
Enabling successful outcomes for leaders, developing a path forward and inspiring action and resolve for staff are a few of our most common results.
Our facilitation methods range from top leader retreats to all-hands meeting to innovation workshops.