Getting Agreement and Consensus
It’s been said that facilitating team meetings is easy when you don’t know what you’re doing and very difficult when you do. Getting members to come to common ground and reach decisions that every member can and will support sometimes requires a different way of looking at issues. Here’s an example.
During the first day of a two-day strategy and planning session, there were, predictably, areas of disagreement. One issue was a particular source of conflict. It seemed evident that team members may have been coming at this from different perspectives, prompting the following “experiment.”
Two team members arrived at a strategy meeting, one with a steaming hot cup of coffee, the other with a cold can of cola. Each placed their beverage on the table. Over a period of time, an interesting thing happened. The hot coffee “cooled off” while the cold cola “warmed up.” Left standing, each beverage reached the temperature of the meeting room, a natural phenomenon known as equilibrium. Here’s where it gets interesting. The person with the coffee took a sip and said the coffee was “cold.” The member with the cola did the same and declared that the cola was “warm.” As a matter of fact, the temperature of both beverages was identical! However, based on their individual perspectives, each was correct; one was “cold” the other was “warm.”
When two members look at the same issue and see it differently, a closer look is often helpful. Identifying the frame of reference of each member, their perspective and their baseline comparisons can uncover important details and increase understanding between and among members. This can be an important step in getting the temperature in the meeting room “just right,” achieving “equilibrium” and advancing effective team decisions.
For more information on ways to advance your team strategy meetings, contact me at email@example.com or visit my website; ajstrategy.com.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.