Five core principles of a well-designed strategic conversation

Five core principles of a well-designed strategic conversation

By Sebastian Velasquez, May 16, 2018      Categories: News and Resources , Software Development Process      Tags: , , ,

There are many important things to keep in mind when you try to come up with new ideas with a group of people working together towards one goal.
The primary way to get results is to create strategic conversations. That sounds easy, but when you try to do it, you find a lot of issues. For instance, problems when expressing ideas and “ego” situations that prevent you from achieving the desired result.
The definition of the word, ‘conversation,’ according to Google Dictionary, is “a talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged.”
Often, the more comfortable type for people is having a one on one conversation but what happens when you need to create a conversation with more people. You need to design a strategic conversation.
Chris Ertel & Lisa Kay Salomon in their book “Moments of Impact,” show five cores to create a strategic conversation, and I’m going to present you a little overview that you can use in your next meeting.

Core Principle 1 – Declare the objectives-Define the purpose


You must start a meeting or a strategic conversation with a clear set of objectives and desired outcomes that make sense and are realistic given the time available. This way, people can see if the goal was accomplished. In this setting, the people should be open to change the way of the conversation, but always have present the objectives and purpose. Rarely you can solve any problem within one session; you need to understand the meaning of each strategic conversation in the context of your organization.

Core Principle 2 – Identify participants – engage multiple perspectives

Engaging multiple perspectives is one of the toughest parts of a strategic conversation. To begin, you need to identify the most appropriate participants for a given session and prepare them well in advance. To create results in this type of meeting, you need dig deeper to understand the views, values, and concerns of each participant and stakeholder group. When you put together different people, with varying points of view, you need to understand the perspective that they represent: not only as people, but also the area that they serve. You need to find creative ways to create value from the intersection of diverse perspectives, experiences, and expertise that live in any organization.

Core Principle 3 – Assemble content – frame the issues

 To create a strategic conversation, you need a tricky topic, highly relevant objectives, and communication. For an excellent advance in the meeting, all readings, discussions, and handouts should be focused on creating a common understanding. No matter the perspective of each person, everybody needs to understand the current status and the desired status.

Core Principle 4 – Find a venue – Set the scene

Sometimes meetings are long, and you need all the tools to create a friendly environment for people to feel good and generate good ideas. You need to know what is the nature of the group and the size. Participants should be comfortable, have all the equipment, supplies, markers, boards, post-it, everything you need to create excellent results.

Core Principle 5 – Set agenda – Make it an experience

Create a logical sequence of agenda items. Bring orientation to the participants, create breaks to rest, and present the next steps after the meeting. The agenda should be clear, and it should be built in a way to make the meeting successful. Also, attend to the emotional and psychological experience of participants. The participants then will be motivated, with energy to use all the skills and capabilities to make a fantastic strategic conversation. I hope you find this tips helpful and I invite you to read the book.

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Sebastian Velasquez

Sebastian Velasquez is a Delivery Manager & Scrum Master at GAP. He is a System Engineer and loves Agile. For the past ten years, he's dedicated his life to helping organizations like the main bank in Colombia and Panama, the biggest insurance company in Peru, and the biggest retail company in Colombia, to create an Agile culture, build high-performance teams, and most importantly, to make people happy.

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