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Join us Aug 1 for the ISODC Roundtable: Facilitating More Productive, Efficient, and Purposeful Meetings-A dialog and Learning Session

S & G Endeavors is excited to host the next ISODC Roundtable on August 1, at both 9AM and 4PM Eastern.

Our purpose with the virtual dialog is to bring participants together to collaborate and learn from each other so that we can facilitate meetings that are more productive, efficient, and purposeful.

  • We’ll begin with a quick overview of tips from Jeremy Grandstaff, one of our S&G Consultants who has facilitated hundreds of virtual dialogs, ranging in purpose, topic, and number of participants.
  • Next, we’ll open the space for participants to learn and share with each other by identifying questions that we can dig further into on the call. We’ll breakout to discuss and report back to the whole on what we’ve learned throughout the dialog.

So bring your questions and join the dialog. You don’t need to register, you just need to show up. See below for all the details and please spread the word.

Copyright SGEndeavors 2017

Share screens, engage participants, drive the agenda.

Facilitating More Productive, Efficient, and Purposeful Meetings-A dialog and Learning Session

When: Tuesday, August 1, either join at 9AM or 4PM Eastern (1.5 hours)

How to join: We’ll meet virtually via Zoom. You can either join via your computer, or directly from your phone, or both if you like. See below for the information:

 

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday. Contact office@sgendeavors.com with any questions.

A big thanks to the sponsors of the ISODC Roundtable

ISODC logo | NEXUS logo | s & G Endeavors logo | cooperrider logo

Making the Most of your Virtual Meeting

screen shot from MaestroConference.comIn the world of Organizational Development, engaging the largest number of interested parties in your change effort or new program is going to give you the most well-rounded, expansive feedback possible. Sometimes engaging the highest number of stakeholders is just not feasible in a live, in-person setting. When this is the case, we can turn to technology to bridge the gaps, and bring people into an engaging virtual conversation. Programs like Zoom or MaestroConference, are great free to low-cost options to keep participants engaged and provide opportunities for everyone to share their ideas. While virtual meetings can provide certain challenges, S & G Endeavors can show you how to overcome these problems and make your meetings a success.

When we move out of the world of in-person collaboration and into the virtual world, there are always going to be technical issues. Bad connections and background noise can be two of the more frustrating tech issues you will face in your virtual environment. For important meetings, clearly recommend to all parties that they join with a hardline connection to the internet. This will remove any chance of weak wi-fi connections, and keep a nice flow to your meeting.  Here are some other considerations to address when planning for a productive online meeting.

  • Background noise can be just as harmful to keeping a nice rhythm and pace to your sessions. Environmental noise, feedback or echo can be avoided by asking all participants to use headphones, as well as muting their microphone when not speaking.
  • Promotion and ensuring high attendance might be some non-tech struggle you face when planning your virtual meeting. Using polls to find the best date and time to schedule your meeting allows potential participants to share their availability for your proposed scheduling times. Send calendar invites and reminder emails to participants as your meeting nears to help ensure that participants make it on the scheduled date and time. Send out a clear agenda and prep materials (If there are any) so that individuals can come in prepared.
  • Properly facilitating your virtual meeting can be a challenge, in itself. The every-day distractions of work or home life can make keeping participants interested and engaged much more difficult than having everyone together in a conference room. To get the most feedback from your participants, you need to be able to hear from as many people as possible. Monitor the flow of your meeting. Keep conversations moving, and recognize when progress on a certain topic stops being made. Make an effort to involve as many participants as you can by suggesting that answers or feedback be kept brief and to the point. Certain web conferencing programs, like Zoom or MaestroConference, offer the feature of “break-out groups”. This allows you to move participants into smaller groups to discuss topics further. These small groups allow more time for each participant to share, and give you more valuable feedback.

Virtual meetings can be a valuable tool in developing your organization, providing you with a broad reach of participants, and tools to gain the most from your meeting. They can save you time, money, and energy compared to in person conferences or seminars, and with the proper technique, can be just as, or even more effective.

Facilitation of a virtual meeting requires a balance of when to lead the conversation, and when to step back. As a facilitator, speaking for too long can disengage participants quickly. Long presentations or webinar type meetings can be especially difficult to keep people engaged throughout, without the captivation of a live speaker.

We find these virtual meetings to be much more engaging than simple telephone conference calls. With audio and video as part of the meeting, eye contact is possible (for those who do not have visual impairments).  As process facilitators, S & G Endeavors will put your organization’s leaders in the best position to succeed in ensuring the largest number of participants will attend your meetings.

For more information on holding successful virtual meetings, check out the paper written by our own Jeremy Grandstaff and John Spalding here. To learn more about the types of consulting and facilitation we do here at S & G Endeavors, or to contact us to facilitate your virtual meetings, visit us at www.sgendeavors.com

 

 

Summer Reading List: Level Up!

CC0 Public Domain

Summer Reading

Well, it’s hot today in both Washington, D.C. and Portland, Oregon (not so sunny in Cleveland, though), so we thought we cook up a list of Summer Reading from our consultant team in order to give our clients and colleagues some insight into what guides our work with you. I’ve organized the list into two categories: books for individual or organizational change for leaders and executives and books for people interested in learning about deeper “whole scale change” for larger transformation.

We’ve linked to sites directly managed by the author when possible. So, check it out, leave your comments on FB with which ones you liked and ones we should add to the list from your own perspective. Hope your summer brings you the change you want to create.

Leadership and Growth Books

Read more ›

Picture It!

CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo: Dave Johnson, CC BY-SA 2.0

Picture it! A man, who is blind and has a Seeing Eye Dog, is crossing the street at a busy intersection in downtown Toronto. The blind guy begins to cross the street and has to walk out around two cars blocking the turning lane. A person sees the blind guy, yells out to him “Oh, my God, do you need some help. Oh, my God, you poor thing.”

As she is yelling at the blind man, she also runs toward the blind man and his dog, causing his dog to back up to avoid her (as she is trying to grab the dog), creating yet another obstacle in the middle of the street for the dog to tackle in addition to the several cars and pedestrians.

The blind guy says quickly and directly, “Ma’am, oh my God, do not touch the dog when he is working, especially in the street.”

She says back, “Well, which way are you trying to go, that way or this way,” pointing each direction out and awaiting the blind man to answer her question.

“Ma’am, I honestly can’t have this conversation in the middle of the street, thank you,” says the blind guy as he tries to focus his dog to complete the crossing.

As the blind man stops on the corner to regroup, the lady walks passed him with her friend saying, “Do you believe that; I’m just trying to be helpful. How rude; see John it’s like I told you, you try to help them and they’re rude to you and if you don’t help then you aren’t doing enough. Just another grouchy person with a disability that we’re paying for.”

The blind man, me, chooses to not engage and to just let it go.

Read more ›

Solution Session: Give us 90 minutes and we’ll get you unstuck!

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Kite stuck in a tree

One of our collaborative partners, Ted Sarvata, is working with S & G consultant, Rob Sadowsky, on offering simple one-shot sessions that will help your organization or company explore an area that is slowing you down or simply keeping you from really thriving. It’s really up to your team to move forward, but we’ll work with you to get at the root causes of what is getting you “stuck” and help identify clear, accountable action steps to move forward.

Ted worked with Rob at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance to help identify how serious a ineffective database/CRM system (SalesForce) was holding back the organization. It was a topic that kept coming back on performance reviews, at strategic meetings and was often the excuse used on why something couldn’t get done. Program team staff complained that they didn’t have the time to input information into SalesForce. The membership manager spent all of their time inside the database and no time working to grow the membership. On top of that, the membership manager was the de facto system administrator for the organization. Ted worked to put all the key team leaders in a room to address the problem and build solutions. The organization put the resources it needed to into a System Administrator that specialized in Salesforce and things started to improve.

Having an outside facilitator for this type of discussion is key. Many folks feel very personally attached to the way things are now and it takes a special care to pull out the core issues without hurting feelings and without placing blame. An outside facilitator, trained in process, can also see things that team members cannot see because they are too inside the problem itself.

Read more ›

Conducting a social audit for your non-profit

 

picture of a keyboard with the caps lock key changed to the word audit.

Bild von Got Credit via flickr.com

 

For every nonprofit organization that I have ever worked for, we would conduct an annual financial audit with professional accountants costing thousands of dollars. The purpose of the audit was to ensure that the agency was well maintained and to identify short comings that could be rectified. Audits were conducted by outside, independent investigators to ensure fairness and establish standards. But the audits always stopped at the financial management of the organization. Here we propose going one step further and establishing formal reviews of the nonprofit’s overall performance across the various functions.

The agency can hire its own independent “reviewer” or conduct a self-assessment using a downloadable tool developed by S & G Endeavors.  Read more ›

ISODC Collaboration Roundtable- Tacking Implicit Bias

We’re so thrilled to have been a part of the critical discussion and dialog we held with others at the recent ISODC Roundtable Discussion on Implicit Bias. Great ideas were shared, insights were uncovered, and as we discussed, even just raising awareness creates some progress on this issue. Some quick reflections from our conversations include:

  • Many people on the call were familiar with the topic of implicit bias and really enjoyed some of the insight they gained from the tests on the Project Implicit website. One of the uncovered challenges, that we could possibly dive further into, is how you deal with those who don’t believe they hold implicit biases. This is also influenced by explicit biases demonstrated in the world.
  • Our upbringing or backgrounds definitely play a role in the implicit biases that we may have, helping to shape both the biases themselves and how we deal with them, especially when multiple biases exist simultaneously. Having a learning attitude also helps one be more aware of biases that exist and to think about how we might intervene.
  • Try hard to recognize the triggers that you or others have relating to implicit biases. .. Tap into resources that exist to help you stay aware and think about how you deal with these situations. The Project Implicit website and Transcultural Competence were just a couple mentioned throughout the conversation.
  • Find the people in the system who can help to eliminate barriers, and be ‘accomplices’ in helping to deal with implicit biases. Don’t focus on the superficial but instead focus on building connections and holding conversations that can make a difference. Don’t hesitate or be afraid of having the conversation. Remember, it has to start with you and the example that you set. (OTFD: allows for calm discussion)

You can watch the virtual conversation below or review the raw outputs from our group break-out conversations.

Be sure to stay tuned to www.ISODC.org for information on our next Roundtable conversation on June 3 as well as registration to the upcoming ISODC/Appreciative Inquiry Conference in may.

Thanks much to our sponsors as well; give them some love as they help make the ISODC Roundtable a success.

 

 

Working with an Executive Coach

Rob Sadowsky toasts the best clients

I was interviewing for my big job, serving as the Executive Director of the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation. The interviews were exhausting, three of them totaling more than eleven hours. But I made it through the gauntlet with one caveat: they wanted me to hire an executive coach. Actually, they assigned me an executive coach. I was a bit nervous about the idea, not sure what it meant. But the coach, Dr. Robert Wright, was impressive. His price tag was $250/hour, but he was offering pro bono services as a favor to our board chair.

I learned a lot in those sessions. I learned about myself, and what worked and didn’t work with coaching. Bob was not the right coach for me. He had no familiarity with nonprofit management or with advocacy, so it was often difficult to translate the issues I wanted to work on with his own experience. But even so, he was a calming influence and helped build my confidence as a manager.

Later on, I had the opportunity to work with other coaches, who were much more suited to my style. I’ve become a huge fan, so much that I enjoy coaching others myself. This article hopes to provide some guidance in working with an executive coach so you can get started on the right foot.

What is an executive coach?

Read more ›

Small Group Facilitation Trainings and Virtual Conversations in 2017

S & G Endeavors is happy to announce our current line up of upcoming training conferences and Virtual Conversations for 2017! Whether you’ve worked with us in the past, or just recently discovered S & G Endeavors, these in-person trainings and Virtual Conversations will benefit you, your clients, friends, and colleagues. With the wide range of topics we’re covering, there is guaranteed to be something for everyone!

Our Small Group Facilitation trainings will take place in three cities across the country; Washington DC (June 16-18), Cleveland, OH (September 22-24), and Chicago, IL (November 15-17). These trainings will prepare participants to facilitate groups as small as ten to as large as a couple hundred by using small groups that maximize participation and build leaders.The workshop is perfect for people who serve as a planner, a community organizer, an advocate, an educator, or team leader.

Our Virtual Conversations will be starting as soon as next week, and running throughout the year. We will be covering a variety of topics, including non-profit social audits (February 28), working with an executive coach (March 14), and the Three Pillars of Collaborative Planning ( March 28). Stay tuned to our website for the full schedule of Virtual Conversations coming up this year.

Both the Small Group Facilitation trainings and Virtual Conversations will fill up fast, so make sure to reserve your spot today!

Do you have a great idea for a virtual conversation that you would like to see us facilitate? Be sure to let Ryan, our coordinator, know at ryan@sgendeavors.com.

Looking forward to engaging with you in one of our upcoming Virtual Conversations!