Chairing and Facilitating

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Open Space


There is one organizational development process that I have used occasionally and really wish I had been able to apply more often in my career: Open Space Technology. And why have I not been able to use it more? Well, Open Space is not for the faint hearted. Most business leaders like at least a little bit of control and …

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People Bingo


One of my favourite icebreakers that I have used for people to get to know each other better, especially in new organisations, is People Bingo. There are different versions of the game, but the one that I think works best is when the people involved are (confidentially) asked by the facilitator to provide an interesting fact about themselves. These are …

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The Power of Silence


I’ve been recently conducting some focus groups for my Russian clients. Finding out what I already know: that Russians in general are not a very mobile workforce, and in this case do not necessarily want to move from their larger city place of work to a much smaller location in Siberia. I’ve been doing this together with one of the …

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Big meeting on-time communications


Quite often I’ve been part of global leadership teams, who come together for a face-to-face meeting somewhere in the world for maybe two long days and then all dash off to catch planes or go to other meetings at the end of the planned agenda. Nevertheless as a team, you would like everyone to feedback to their locations or their …

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The Ladder of Inference


One of my favourite tools for promoting productive conversations in teams is the Ladder of Inference. I first came across it more than twenty years ago when we were trying to change our ways of working in a huge global reorganisation and transformation. The phrase was coined and the concept developed by the great Chris Argyris. It explains why we …

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When is a team a team and when is it a group?


Two recent events have reminded me about work I did almost twenty years ago about the differences between teams and groups (and even bigger ‘teams’ like communities and networks). I was coaching a young lady recently promoted to manager in one of my new clients in Russia, who wanted help in her new leadership role, with her small direct team …

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The role of a Board member in non-profit organisations


For the last five or six years I have been the Chair of the Board of a Foundation (Stichting in Dutch), a non-profit organsation, and with a group of new Board members we have recently been discussing the role of the Board. I’ve been on the Board of three other non-profit organisations in the past and have also been on …

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Strategic thinking and de Bono’s Six Hats


I recently ran a two half-day’s workshop for the extended leadership team of the national chemical company. We dealt with strategic thinking and looked at how their two-year old strategic plan might need adapting due to the transformation plans of our entire group of companies. More than half of the GDP of the country. Rather than just look at updating …

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