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Bite sized insights from masters in the use of ToP Methods.

Appreciative Accountability to Support Solid Implementation

Accountability is addressed in an appreciative way by setting up follow-up sessions to share progress and roadblocks encountered, with a spirit of supporting each other to be successful. Weekly or monthly “check signals” meetings allow for rapid pivoting when unforeseen events happen that affect the plans, either positively or negatively. The matrix above is an

Making Solid Implementation Plans

Have you experienced working with a group to identify and decide on next steps and then realizing some time later that no one has done any of the actions? There are some common blocks to creating plans that are actually implemented. vague outcomes, objectives, or goals visionary outcomes that do not take into consideration the

Developing Consensus Using the Consensus Workshop Method

Some years ago, I was facilitating a community consensus workshop on “What are elements of successful public consultation?”.  One group sent up a card that said “more chocolate”.  Although the card was meant as a joke, we took it seriously and asked what they meant and where it most illuminated an element of successful consultation. 

Defining Authentic Consensus

What is authentic consensus, anyway? First, some relevant dictionary definitions: Cambridge English Dictionary: “a generally accepted opinion or decision among a group of people” Wikipedia: “Consensus is a group discussion where everyone's opinions are heard and understood, and a solution is created that respects those opinions. Consensus is not what everyone agrees to, nor is

Writing Prose from Consensus Workshop Results

Often cards in a column on a wall are not polished enough documentation to finish the result the group needs. It is easy and fun for a group to write prose statements from the cards, perhaps a sentence for each column. Provide a template for the prose.  Usually it includes a line for the name

Keys to Documenting Results

The first key to accurate documentation of what the group has said is to make sure participants’ words on the important insights and decisions are written and held visible during the session, whether on cards or flipcharts or some other means.  This does not mean capturing every word that is said in a long discussion,

Applying Appropriate Methods

Applying appropriate methods to ensure task completion and results is complex, including thorough planning of methods and executing those plans with the group. The first step is to deeply understand what results the client and the group need. The second is to create the rational aim for the session: to articulate in clear and simple

The Joy of Co-Facilitation Teamwork

At the IAF Conference in Ottawa in 2018, I had the opportunity to co-facilitate a session with two indigenous colleagues.  The topic of the session was reconciliation between settlers and indigenous people, and we needed a cross-cultural team to facilitate the event. The three of us arrived early and all pitched in to set up

ORID as an Underlying Structure for Effective Meeting Design

We teach ORID as the structure of a Focused Conversation.  However, it is much more than that.  Since it reflects the natural steps in how human beings process information, it is also useful as an underlying “meta” structural design for a facilitated event. Any appropriate facilitation tools can be used at any of the four