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    Entries in consultation (4)

    Tuesday
    Nov102015

    Engage BS* detector: "We want to consult with you on this..."

    As you respond to the volatile world of change out there, and work hard to engage and consult with people around you or with clients, customers and stakeholders, please please please, think first about how involved you want people to be.

    How involved do you want people to be in the change, transformation or piece of work you’re leading?

    You may want them fully empowered. Or perhaps this is about some consultation. Or something else. At each step or stage or leading change, keep asking yourself questions like: 

    • Is this a briefing or transfer of information? (inform)
    • Is it a consultative thing - I want to ask some questions and find out what they think? (consult)
    • Do I need to involve them in the design or development of a process, product or service? (involve)
    • Is it about collaboration: ‘let's work on this thing together’. (collaborate) 
    • Do I want them to pick up the ball and run with it, to empower them so that they act and decide? (empower)

    Whichever of these you'd like to make happen – and you may want to achieve several on one piece of work - you need to be clear, otherwise it can get awkward, disengaging and cause some further hiccups. 

    When people say 'we want to consult with you on this...', I make sure my BS detector is switched on. Because they may have already made up their minds!

    So here's a continuum or scale that can guide you. Get your goggles on: how low do you wanna go?

    A Depth Gauge: How low do you want to go?

     Informing people about change is very much on the surface. You tell them, they listen. You move on.

    But you can go further. When you consult with people, you’re getting under the surface, you’re asking them what they think, you want their views and those views may well impact the shape and size of things to come.

    To go deeper is to involve people. How do they see things? What would they do? What do they think needs to happen? Get their ideas, their thoughts, their ways of thinking and seeing and bring them into the change.

    Oh, yes you can go further. To collaborate with people, you go deeper. ‘Co’ means to work together. Now you’re talking, listening, meeting, co-creating, co-designing and co-delivering this thing together. Regularly. Often. Most of the time.

    And even further you can go where people are empowered to design, create, deliver or implement a change or initiative. Give them power, decision making, financial, resource, timing: it’s theirs for the making.

    I regularly use these five levels and ‘depths’ of involvement and participation (adapted from the International Association for Public Participation, or IAP2) to guide me in:

    • how to prepare for engaging with a team,
    • how to set up and design an environment a team is going to meet or work in,
    • what processes they'll work through when I’m facilitating a meeting or workshop, and
    • how to handle the stuff that happens during that team’s meetings, work, conversations and projects.

    What you do as a leader makes a b-i-g difference in how well a group or team goes towards achieving an outcome. And how you set the scene is super important.

    If they aren't engaging...

    It's not ‘their fault' or 'up to them'. It's on you. If you've called a meeting, are facilitating a workshop, leading a piece of work or responsible for getting the outcome, it really helps to get clear about what you’re going to do when and how you'll engage them to make something good happen. 

    Those crusty old days of workshops, meetings or conversations to 'discuss, decree and demolish' are gone. That's disengaging and ineffective. It’s super low engagement.

    Start with this ‘depth gauge’ of participation and swim down to the levels that suit the outcome you're after and the people you’re leading. If it’s just about informing – stay on the surface. If it’s about collaboration, you’re going to have to go deeper, do more, design more and set things up so that people do indeed collaborate.

    Just as a trained scuba diver plans their dive, maps out the use of their oxygen supplies and prepares their equipment, leaders too need to plan the depth of involvement and engagement with their teams, colleagues and stakeholders during times of change.

    Take a big breath... and off you go. 

    *BS: Bullsh*t (or Bullshit for the non edited version)

    Tuesday
    May062014

    How involved do you want people to be?

     

    When you next need to get input or contributions from people, or you need to consult with a team on something, think first: how involved do you want people to be? 

    This really is the question - just how deeply involved?

    It can get messy if you think one thing and they think another. 

    This quick video outlines a depth of involvement and participation. Go on, get into it. 

     For further information, read up on the IAP2 process here

     

    Thursday
    Dec052013

    A Blueprint for Meetings, Workshops, Conversations

    When you get people together - face to face or via a hookup - you need to make something happen. 

     
    Is it a briefing or transfer of information?
    Is it a consultative thing - you want to ask some questions and find out what they think.
     
    Maybe you need to involve them in the design or development of a process, product or service.
    Perhaps it's about collaboration: 'let's work on this thing together'. 
     
    And sometimes you want them to pick up the ball and run with it, toempower them so that they act and decide.
     
    Whichever of these you'd like to make happen, you need to start with that in mind. Here's a continuum or scale that can guide you:




    I regularly use these five levels and depths of participation (adapted from the International Association for Public Participation - or IAP2) to guide me in:

    • how to prepare for the gathering,
    • how to set up and design the environment they'll meet in,
    • what processes they'll work through and
    • how to handle the stuff that happens during that meeting.


    What you do as a leader will make a b-i-g difference in how well the group goes towards achieving the outcome. 

    It's not "their fault' or 'up to them'. It's on you. 

    If you've called the meeting, are facilitating or leading it or are responsible for getting the outcome, it really helps to get clear about why they are in the room (or dialled in remotely) and how you'll engage them to make something good happen. 

    Those crusty old days of workshops or conversations to 'discuss, decree and demolish' are gone. That's disengaging and ineffective. 

    Start with this Blueprint and zoom in on the levels that suit the outcome you're after. 

    The meeting, workshop or conversation will be more productive, more engaging and the people who've given their time to be there will oh-so grateful you got this sorted!


    Monday
    Mar252013

    Give good output

    "We've got to get input from people on how this service will be designed, structured and delivered", said Jason, a client I met up with this morning. 

    But how is that 'input' experience going to go for the business and the project team... and the users?

    For Jason and the team, they are keen to get control over the engagement, the collaboration and the 'working with others' that is to come over the next few months.

    "It can go sooooo off track," he said. "On the one hand, we absolutely need their input... but it can be such a pain to open up that huge world of possibiliy - they want everything, they want it now."

    We both chuckled at the 'Daddy I want an oompa loompa and I want it now' quote from the spoilt child character Veruca Salt in the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film.

    To get input into design and delivery, you do want to get it right and be conscious of how it can get out of hand, drag on or never seem to be finished. 

    So with Jason, I'll be designing the input, engagement and consultation process in a way that generates great input and is an enjoyable and successful process.

    When you're going for input from people, it needs to save time, not steal time.

    It needs to engage with 'yowza' not yawn, and it needs to deliver great positioning and awareness of what the project or team is about to embark on.

    How you handle this phase of engagement, consultation and development will say so much about how you intend to work with the business over the coming months. 

    Plan for good input and you'll give good output.