“Steph came to Asda to deliver Transforming Meetings to our Supply Chain Management team. This has been one of the most popular sessions we have put on for the team and the amount of positive feedback has been overwhelming. I don’t often come across sessions where people are still coming back to me week after week telling me the benefit that it has had to their work. To quote one of our management team “This has allowed me to shut up, sit back and allow the rest of my team to come up with solutions much more quickly”.Michael Dilworth, Manager and Analyst Asda
The meeting starts.
You know you’re trying to solve a problem, but one or more of these things might happen:
• Some people think solving problems is your job, not theirs
• Certain people take over
• The same old ideas are trotted out
• Most people aren’t contributing or getting anything out of it
• People interrupt each other
• The presentation is going on and on
• You run out of time
By the end, you’re no closer to solving the problem, no one is quite sure what’s been decided and you think, ‘That’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back’.
Transforming Meetings® will help you make issues like these a thing of the past.
Everyone wants the best possible results from meetings. But the quality of a group’s decisions and actions depends on the thinking they do first, and the quality of that thinking depends on the way they treat one another when they’re meeting. I help teams understand what needs to be in place for everyone to do their own best thinking, using Thinking Environment® building block skills, and sharing simple tools to make sure everyone in the room is comfortable to have the conversation.
Then we have a real meeting. We immediately put those skills into practise with the team’s live agenda items, making real decisions. And with the benefit of that experience, plan how to use the new skills back at work.
Everyone benefits from learning how to run meetings that matter. Everyone is thinking better, working on what matters, achieving their goals, saving time and money, and transforming their working culture.
These skills and tools travel with people to their wider teams and projects – a worthwhile upskilling investment with multiple benefits, and a positive work culture that just keeps on growing.
Sam Haddock – Principal Team Leader of the Habitats Regulations Assessment Team, Environment Agency
“I felt like I wasn’t getting the best out of my team meetings, and it was just me talking…now people know when to speak and I don’t have to interject: they lead themselves and I don’t have to manage the room.”
I felt like I wasn’t getting the best out of my team meetings, and it was just me talking. I was managing remotely with a new, dispersed team, all technical experts (and I’m not) and I’d worry about getting my point across, getting everyone engaged (not just the extraverts), or stopping them chipping in or changing the conversation – sometimes I’d leave the meeting feeling despondent. I wanted to make the best of our time together, collaborate on projects, get everyone to join in, make sure it was useful, productive, more about team cohesion but not just a nice chat about the weekend. And I wanted to set up how we engage so it’s not my job to lead everything.
A colleague was talking about how they’d changed their meetings on the basis of Steph’s training, and I thought she could help me. The training itself was a collaborative workshop – the session got everyone talking, and Steph managed to involve everyone really well, including new people, everyone was very engaged.
Four months down the line, team meetings have been much better, we use the tools regularly and everyone likes it; we use the rounds to hear from everyone and we use the Thinking Council® when we’re trying to open up problems. People will talk about performance stuff very openly now, share their challenges; whereas previously they would have gone off and done something, now they want and get input from the team. I think it’s made sure that everyone has an opinion on things – we’ve got quite a range of experience in the teams, so newer people may feel they don’t have the knowledge, but making sure they have a voice gives us a perspective we might not have thought of. I’ve seen much more confidence in people who are newer and people who were less forthcoming in virtual meetings. The team having been given that voice, they feel like they can ask people to listen to things.
If I’m not there other people step in much more easily: they like it, they use it. It’s just made sure everyone knows where they’re at, knows when to talk, what to expect. I used to pick on people, but now people know when to speak and I don’t have to interject: people lead themselves and I don’t have to manage the room.
“I’m much more confident now, and, as someone who is Neurodiverse, it helps me stay calm and structured. Once you’ve set it up, the facilitation is easy; it runs itself, taking the pressure off you. It’s like the team dynamics are managing themselves.” Head of Participation, national charity
Steph had already done some great one to one coaching for me either side of meetings, and helped my team Work Together Well in a virtual session, opening up dialogue and helping us take collective responsibility for the issues we were facing.
I knew I could facilitate meetings, but I wanted to be better at it – I was doing two or three roles so I didn’t feel I could be fully present. I also had a tricky dynamic with the organisation going through a rapid period of growth, re-adjusting after the pandemic, and changing to Digital First. I’d worked remotely before, but this was the first time I’d had to lead a remote team and our first time for business-as-usual digital working. I also wanted to see how this technique could help our teams work with people with Lived Experience, and help these two teams work together more closely.
Steph flexed to our needs, delivering Transforming Meetings®, the Thinking Environment®
approach to getting everyone’s best thinking in meetings, in three sessions; online for fundamental tools and techniques, face to face meeting for practice, and an online follow up to reflect on what works for us.
Four months on it’s really embedded into our teams’ practice with team members cascading it out to their other meetings and teams: we’ve planned the next 18 months of team meetings, we use it for all our Round Tables and Deep Dives, we have a Thinking Council® at the end of each meeting, and we invite other team members in to explore how we can use it in participation. Our meetings run much more smoothly, people enjoy coming to them more and they get more out of them – they know they can bring a question or a challenge to a really supportive space. It’s a structured way to make sure everyone gets to have a say and feels like they have a stake in meetings. It helps me get to what’s important, honing the questions, making it meaningful and getting the most out of our precious time.
It works incredibly well for this team where we’re all at different bands and levels– it brings people together in a way where we are all equal. We’ve also taken this to our groups with Lived Experience and in our public engagement – people have really appreciated it, feeling heard and in control of the process. I’m much more confident now, and, as someone who is Neurodiverse, it helps me stay calm and structured. Once you’ve set it up, the facilitation is easy; it runs itself, taking the pressure off you. It’s like the team dynamics are managing themselves.
Adrian Packer, CEO, CORE Education Trust
Steph has had a transformative impact on the wellbeing, efficiency and focus of our organisation. Her work with our senior leaders has inspired a whole new way of working in our schools. Through her support, our values have been brought to life and our sense of purpose renewed and invigorated. Most all, our thinking is better: richer, stronger and more authentic. Our sense of team is now palpable and our decision making much more effective.
Not only has Steph grounded us in the Thinking Environment®, she has given us the confidence to trust each other’s thinking and to be open to a way of working which makes genuine collaboration a joyful reality.<
- a board
- a senior leadership team
- a departmental or project team
- an AGM
- a cross-organisational partnership
- a multi-academy trust
- an advisory/citizen panel
- a strategic network
- a community development practitioner?
Then you’ll have something in common with clients I’ve already worked with to make their meetings matter.