How did you start your last meeting? Or how was the last meeting you attended kicked off? In all likelihood, someone (perhaps yourself) informed all the attendees why they were gathered together and what would be accomplished over the following several days. Now, there certainly isn’t anything wrong with that approach, as it’s a commonly accepted practice and accomplishes a certain outcome. But, I would invite you to consider a different approach, which will create deeper connections among team members and higher levels of engagement and support as you move through your meeting.
Insight Solutions recently delivered programs to serve as the “kick off” for annual meetings of two different sales teams. Although the companies were from different industries, a similar approach was used, demonstrating how this program design can be deployed effectively across multiple sectors.
The programs delivered by Insight Solutions used the appreciative based “PAIR” framework. This approach moves people through different activities and conversations designed to accomplish a specific result.
We start by grounding the attendees in the Purpose of coming together. Most importantly, we don’t tell them, but instead we ask them, why is it important for them to come together as a team, why is it important that they connect with their colleagues and why is it important to take the time to plan their business. We also invite them to think on different levels by addressing the importance for themselves individually, for their team, for their organization, and even for the world.
Next, we move the team through choreographed conversations to Appreciate their strengths and reflect on times when they were operating at their best. By remembering moments of excellence, the team members are connected with the feelings and emotions of when they have been at their best and used their strengths. This activity sets the team up for the next phase, where they build on the memories of the past and create an unconstrained vision of the future.
The team members are asked to Imagine what their future would look like if it were thriving in every way that matters to them, both personally and professionally. This taps into what actually drives fulfillment in each individual and helps them to remove barriers, which may otherwise restrict or constrain what they think is actually possible. It often also encourages them to “think big” and set aggressive or lofty goals… goals which may be more inclined to deliver exponential growth, as opposed to the more standard, incremental growth.
The final step is asking the team to Reflect and take action in the present. There are a number of different ways the action planning can be designed and facilitated, depending on what the client or team wants to accomplish as outcome goals, time available, group size, etc. A very simple and efficient question that can be used to prompt action planning and accountability (and one of my favorites) is: “What’s the one thing or easiest action step you can take immediately, which will move you in the direction of the future you just imagined?” Then have each team member share it with the group. This allows them to verbalize their commitment to action and share it with others, which will help to create a greater level of accountability and commitment.
For more information on this approach or to schedule a strategy call to customize a program for your next team meeting, Contact Insight Solutions today.