This blog contains 2 parts: first - how to convene people; and second - what to do when they are convened. Read on...
Convening people requires several things:
- a mindset that believes bringing people together to talk about issues is a good thing
- a willingness to step up and ask people to come together
- the ability to define or reframe the important question that needs to be answered
- a knowledge of what the multiple people in any organization do, have authority for, what their talents and gifts are, and what they are passionate about
- the freedom to invite people to a meeting (or the ability to get permission to invite people to a meeting)
- the willingness to say "I don't know the answer to this problem, but I believe collective wisdom can get at a solution"
When convening people, the meeting should include:
- a time frame - people are busy and want to know what the time commitment will be (be sure to STICK to the promised time frame)
- an agenda - people want to know why they are coming together and what is to be accomplished - be sure to frame the question well and set out how you believe the process will work toward answering the question - give assignments beforehand if people need to bring something with them
- an optimistic atmosphere - give people hope that their time spent together can actually arrive at a solution or answer
- others talking, not you - the convener is there to listen and observe, not to pontificate. Refrain from doing all the talking and listen to others, asking clarifying questions
- a good "wrap-up" - this includes what was decided, what the next steps include, and who is responsible for what
- follow-up - people want to kow that the time they spent was worthwhile and what happened as a result of that time - communicate with them afterwards
I do love convening people - I love the interaction that takes place, the problem solving that occurs, and the good feeling people have by working together. If that's a part of leadership, then count me in!