2009.01.05 "How to Have Good Strategic Meetings" Doug Sousa - The Kira Institute
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2009.01.05 "How to Have Good Strategic Meetings" Doug Sousa

Genesis Zhangsun: Hey Doug
doug Sosa: hi gen
doug Sosa: hien
Genesis Zhangsun: Pema asked me apologize on his behald but he will not be able to make it today
doug Sosa: i got an emailfromhim, yes.
Genesis Zhangsun: he really wanted to but was up until 3am last night
Genesis Zhangsun: ah ok good
Andrej Babenco: hi all
doug Sosa: what is the format?
Ludwig John: hi
Genesis Zhangsun: Hey Andrej!
Genesis Zhangsun: So it is pretty informal
Genesis Zhangsun: you could talk for 10-20 minutes and then we'll do a Q&Z
doug Sosa: ok, ..
Alfred Kelberry: gen! :)
Genesis Zhangsun: oops Q&A
Genesis Zhangsun: Hey Alfred welcome
doug Sosa: by talk you mean write, right?
Genesis Zhangsun: Hi JeanPierre
Genesis Zhangsun: ah yes
Genesis Zhangsun: text is fine
Genesis Zhangsun: probably preferable so we have the log
JeanPierre Euler: Hi
doug Sosa: let me know when to stat.
Genesis Zhangsun: Well it seems we have a smaller crowd than usual but perhaps this is because everyone has just now returned to work
Genesis Zhangsun: and have no time to play?
doug Sosa: so the economy is still working?
Alfred Kelberry: much smaller
Andrej Babenco: here 11 pm
Andrej Babenco: eh eh..no more work
Genesis Zhangsun: Well in any case lets get started
Genesis Zhangsun: Welcome to the Kira Cafe
doug Sosa: ok, a few words to start.
Genesis Zhangsun: One sec Doug
doug Sosa: for years ive
Genesis Zhangsun: have to give my warnings
doug Sosa: been a consultnt
Genesis Zhangsun: about participation
doug Sosa: using scenarios of possible futures to get people thinking out of their boxes.
Genesis Zhangsun: If anyone participates here they will become part of a public log
Genesis Zhangsun: which is posted on our website
doug Sosa: I am talking about working with senior managment teams.
Genesis Zhangsun: http://www.kira.org/
doug Sosa: Getting them to create possible futures is very engaging.
doug Sosa: But over time i noticed severalthings.
Alfred Kelberry: you can't stop doug, gen :)
 ( http://slurl.com/secondlife/BaikUn/211/115/254 ).
Andrej Babenco: ok but don't write over genesis...^_^
doug Sosa: first, the gneerallevelof strategic thinking is quite wek,
doug Sosa: or non existent.
doug Sosa: "weak"
doug Sosa: There is also a generallackof awareness of history.
doug Sosa: Of the industry, society, economics,technology, whatever.
Think Difference: Hello
doug Sosa: I also found myself thinking about the typical "good" meeting.
Alfred Kelberry: hey, think
doug Sosa: The walss get covered with flip charts, lots of energy emerges, the meeting os over,
doug Sosa: the flipcharts get rolled up with a rubber band
doug Sosa: and never sen aain.
doug Sosa: If the sme group comes back together, it is based on an emailand notes nobody has read. one again the room starts empty of reminders of the past.
doug Sosa: So i started thinking,what if we left that stuff on the walls?
doug Sosa: What if oher groups used he rooms and found thaose flipcharts
doug Sosa: on the walls?
doug Sosa: Interesting.Stimulating.
Kore Jardberg accepted your inventory offer.
doug Sosa: I began thinking of artifacts, building up an archeology of old meetings,letting the
Maxine Walden accepted your inventory offer.
Kore Jardberg: Hi
doug Sosa: space become crowded with the past.
doug Sosa: I found mysel at stanford in a few situations where peopleneeded to have goo strategic meetings involving big questions,
doug Sosa: and as i talked about this artifact idea, they rsponded with los of interest.
doug Sosa: So we started actually creating such rooms.
doug Sosa: and they have gone through some real elaboration and creativity.
doug Sosa: At firs wefel that we needed toadd three largeaphicss.
doug Sosa: a timeline from30,000 bc to the presnet,fifteen feet long.
doug Sosa: then a mapof our urent mess of issues.
doug Sosa: third, some plausible scenarios of the future.
doug Sosa: The group could lay out their issue,such as governance and climate change,
doug Sosa: on these largegr aphics.
doug Sosa: sorry about the typing i have here a very anient keyboard.. :)
doug Sosa: as we experimented,new elements came into play.
doug Sosa: atone time we found that the room had been booked foranoher purpose,so we moved to an acheology lab
doug Sosa: with los of interesting stuff around.you can imagine.
doug Sosa: peoplesaid,hey this is bettter,lets met here.
doug Sosa: So we did. the fact of many intresting things to look at getspeoplemuch more
doug Sosa: relaxed.
doug Sosa: so we began experimenting with what does that.
doug Sosa: One thing we found is, in the typicalconference room, the lighting is quite intense, like a prison inerview, with no sense of privacy. Also typically the walls startblank open spaces. In a photo it ooks terrible - because
doug Sosa: it is terible.
doug Sosa: by the way here iss a url
doug Sosa: to give some backgroun
doug Sosa: http://humanitieslab.stanford.edu/SSC/41
doug Sosa: turning down the lights by halfmade a bi diference.
doug Sosa: well,toshorten the story, we then
doug Sosa: started rethinking he wholeidea. What if we thought of the room as a stage set for strategic dramas - conversations about important ssues.
Alfred Kelberry: no room pictures :(
doug Sosa: We realized that the room and he topic are no more important than the people. what if we said "you are respobsible for your self-presentation in the drama of this conversation?"Make te people and their motives and presence more important.
doug Sosa: so the idea emerged,what are tge limis on creating the very best rooms for adults having serious conversations?
JeanPierre Euler: /cafe?
doug Sosa: We also are using now very sophisticated tech.In one space we are planning on 100 rear view projectors,60 on the main wall, and twnety each on the side walls
Alfred Kelberry: some place with a dim light and cosy couch :)
doug Sosa: but we also ralize that peoplelike to touch things. So we give them scrollsof the large gaphics to ake home with them.
doug Sosa: The use of lots of graphics,including film clips, great art,even music,are important.
doug Sosa: and the way to start the meeting.since working on this i've been paying specialattnetion
doug Sosa: to the way peole start meetings.shy.low ergy,no eye contact. let'sworkon making the opening significant.
doug Sosa: well,enough to get us talking I hope.
doug Sosa: so wade in..
Maxine Walden: please say more about how to open the meeting, Doug
Maxine Walden: how to make it more significant
Andrej Babenco: crash ice
doug Sosa: deeply,every momnet is potetially a shamanic moment. that is, the leader can connect the groupto the above or the below. the normalexpectation is,this willjust be normal.
Alfred Kelberry: ballmer dance?
doug Sosa: The key is to violate thatassumption. in our case the room itself helps do that.then we ofer pelegrino in clean crytal galsses, slices of cake on the table, and then ..
doug Sosa: the firstwords (after greetings before seating).
doug Sosa: Thos e first words need to be right to the point, with maximum eye contact and ppretiation.
doug Sosa: i'll take a few seconds here toget a url for th room before we really redesigned it.
doug Sosa: http://documents.stanford.edu/MichaelShanks/92
doug Sosa: you can navigate around with the mouse. note how
Alfred Kelberry: thanks
doug Sosa: interesting this room is. peoplelove it.
doug Sosa: weare now building severalmch larger spaes.
Genesis Zhangsun: Do I click on the archaeology link?
doug Sosa: spaces.
doug Sosa: he one called metamedia.
Genesis Zhangsun: ok ty
Alfred Kelberry: macs lab :)
doug Sosa: one thing,paying attnetion to seating and spacing.the way we are gahere here is very dificult for good conversation.to sapced apart, the way birds do on a telephone wire.
doug Sosa: http://documents.stanford.edu/MichaelShanks/92
doug Sosa: should go right there.
Genesis Zhangsun: so how would you suggest we would have a better meeting now
Genesis Zhangsun: in this scenario?
Genesis Zhangsun: do your approaches work in virtual spaces?
doug Sosa: shift to zoom in; control to zoom out; mouse to pan and tilt
doug Sosa: we should be closer together. i like the first PaB pavillion fo that. Also we are not amking any use of the
Alfred Kelberry: nice collection of wine :)
doug Sosa: walls - because there really aren't any.
JeanPierre Euler: no fireplace:(
doug Sosa: SL meetings havesome interesting qualities.like the calm fromtypying rather than voice.
Alfred Kelberry: doug, it's my favorite spot here - right by the fire :)
doug Sosa: a fureplaceconflicts with the use of allavaiable space for potentialstuff - screens,boards, actualart..
doug Sosa: a fireplaceis good if you want to meet without distractions away from the people. We are quite seriously thinking hrough these issues.
JeanPierre Euler: very intersting
Genesis Zhangsun: I really like what you suggested about focusing on the people, the players as opposed to the game/the issue on the table
doug Sosa: another issue is brining peoplefrom the humanities into serious policy discussions. And then how to support the mix.
Genesis Zhangsun: because when it comes down to it whether something gets accomplished is about meeting the need/interest of the people involved
doug Sosa: yes,and we'vefound that a strategy conversation requires that people be boldly clear about their motive, and personality.
Alfred Kelberry: yes, the drama on stage analogy is interesting :)
doug Sosa: very powerful. A good stategy conversation if fullof drama,let'smake it a virtue rather than hope peoplebecome annonymous,as happens in so many business meetings.
Maxine Walden: by drama, Doug, are you suggesting that it facilitates to have people really being themselves, fully their own personalities?
Genesis Zhangsun: so what kinds of techniques exactly do you use to bring "out the drama"
doug Sosa: yes,their full selves.
Maxine Walden: thanks, I can see how that is important, gets the listeners' personalities involved as well
doug Sosa: To bring it out. good hosting. good issues, good priming with graphics.
Alfred Kelberry: now the harderst part is to bring this self out :)
doug Sosa: and the judiscious questions like "so far what is leftout?"
Genesis Zhangsun: basically making people present because they are permitted to show themselves
doug Sosa: encouraged.
Alfred Kelberry: can you give us an example of the first "focus" words on a meeting?
Genesis Zhangsun: yes better word Doug
doug Sosa: i am not sure i can.it is so situation specific. nd it more than words, it is posture, eye contact, smiles, seriousness... just not bland.
doug Sosa: next week we are haing a conversation on climate change and governance.the words might be..
Maxine Walden: being willing to put oneself out there, as it were, to open the meeting with one's whole sincere self?
Alfred Kelberry: i like the cake and no bare walls part :)
doug Sosa: "we could not be dealing with a more sigificant issue,and we start knowing that none of us has the answer.
Alfred Kelberry: gives me a blank paper feeling :)
doug Sosa: this willrequire that we find hidden resources in ourselves, and listen with a mind not clouded with conclusions.
Alfred Kelberry: "let's get to work guys!" :)
doug Sosa: and
Maxine Walden: seems to model seriousness and pertinence of the topic for consideration
doug Sosa: "let'smoveslowly.."
Eeyore Anza accepted your inventory offer.
Maxine Walden: appreciate the notion of finding hidden resources and listening without a mind clouded with conclusions...
doug Sosa: ou modelistoavoid the normal modelwhich is quick problem definition,drive to focus, and get to a solution (which probably doesn't fir).
Genesis Zhangsun: and is probably not grounded in reality
doug Sosa: we prefer, repeated revisiting the topic's definition, opening to more rather than fewer frames, avoiding premature closure, and being willing to end smarter but less sure.
Alfred Kelberry: it depends. sometimes you have time constraints.
doug Sosa: theyneed to be questioned.
doug Sosa: bureucratic,or real?
JeanPierre Euler: but we should finish with conclusions without knowing the answer?
Genesis Zhangsun: yes that is a good question Alfred, how do you deal with time constraints or are your meetings just much longer?
Alfred Kelberry: either
doug Sosa: if there are constraints, they are probably created
doug Sosa: by the sme forces that create the problem being investiagated.
Alfred Kelberry: so the system is rotten? :)
doug Sosa: the meetings can go on for weeks,or short.
doug Sosa: if there is a system,its history should be part of the conversation.
doug Sosa: no taboos.
doug Sosa: their very existence is a powerfu clue as to the difficulties.
Maxine Walden: My take on Doug's point re time constraints is in part that a group may approach a problem with a very narrow view, not really wishing to be open to new ways of thinking...and part of the impetus is to facilitate as creative an approach as possible
Alfred Kelberry: how long does it take, in your experience, for a group of people to get used to this new meeting model?
Alfred Kelberry: maxine, this is where pheno comes handy :)
doug Sosa: if you hae a few peoplewho alrady get it, the new ones will fitt right in.
Genesis Zhangsun: it seems that with many meetings, especially at the top level like this climate conference much of what is being said at the meeting is purely symbolic gesturing where as the real stuff happens through back channels
doug Sosa: The room itself has a major effect.
Genesis Zhangsun: what about in meetings like this one where people are reluctant to lay all their cards on the table
Alfred Kelberry: doug, ok, so i can focus on 2 candidates and the rest will follow?
doug Sosa: The gaphics,which i am not showing here, are also powerful socializers, quite instant.
doug Sosa: In he first url, the picture at the top i the councilchambers insienna,done by lorenzetti
doug Sosa: in 1470. they show
doug Sosa: good government and bad government.quite a reminder of hte impact.
doug Sosa: We wnat to bring that kind of impact into the room.
doug Sosa: Imagine a good second grade classroom,th teacher has
Alfred Kelberry peeks at gen's cards
doug Sosa: coered the walls with interesting things.why do we do so much
Genesis Zhangsun: :)
doug Sosa: worse for serious adult conversations?
Andrej Babenco: did u try to have a meeting ..using keybords...without speak ??
Andrej Babenco: (sorry 4 my english..)
doug Sosa: no,but i am temptedfor sure.
Alfred Kelberry: hey, we can make another workshop! :)
Alfred Kelberry: "the drama meeting" one :)
Andrej Babenco: im coriuos about the difference..
Andrej Babenco: between type and speak
doug Sosa: me too.
Alfred Kelberry: you can follow a few conversations typing :)
Alfred Kelberry: kind of hard in voice :)
doug Sosa: you may notice that in my PaB participation, typing, i ry to be slightly more dramati.
doug Sosa: dramatic.
Alfred Kelberry: more thoughtful?
doug Sosa: yes,and willing to tolerate silence (no new text) better than with voice.
Alfred Kelberry: ha.. yes, indeed
Andrej Babenco: seem more deep.
Alfred Kelberry: you can always blame lags :)
doug Sosa: remember the purpose is to have much better adult strategic conversations about really imporant issues.
Maxine Walden: (thanks, must leave)
Alfred Kelberry: thanks for coming, max
doug Sosa: so we blend, sociality, technology, good issues
Genesis Zhangsun: bye Maxine
doug Sosa: i willstop at 3.
Alfred Kelberry: this is all interesting. would you come one more time, please? :) i'd like to know more about group dynamics during the drama meetings.
doug Sosa: part of whatwe have here that we don't in the RL rooms, is here i do not know you,can't read you very well.
doug Sosa: alfred, sure. but i'd want to know more about what you really want to know, and why..
Alfred Kelberry: i had an impression it's rather fast paced (at least mentally, not in words, gestures)
Alfred Kelberry: it'd be interesting to try to implement this practice some time
doug Sosa: that is a weakness of sl,the gesture repertoire is very narrow and kind of epileptic.
Alfred Kelberry: is there a limit on how many people should be in the group?
doug Sosa: we do plan to duplicate the stanford room in SL in the spring.
Alfred Kelberry: heh.. yes, talk to lindens about it :)
doug Sosa: There are ood thins to do with any size. I've wrked with 400.
Alfred Kelberry: well, i'm thinking of much smaller numbers :) like 10-20
doug Sosa: for example see a minor example at
doug Sosa: http://dougcarmichael.com/sceanrio_large.html
Alfred Kelberry: oh, wait.. are you involved in the stanford sim?
doug Sosa: yes.
Alfred Kelberry opens the link
Alfred Kelberry: aha.. thank you
doug Sosa: also emailme with questions
doug Sosa:

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