Part of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, as captured by Edward Burtynsky for National Geographic, 2010.

Defining and Designing Successful Conversations – Reflections on the Delta Dialogues.

Groupaya recently wrapped up a two-year project facilitating a series of dialogues around contentious water issues in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  As we reflected on the process of facilitating the Delta Dialogues, we found ourselves reflecting on the process of dialogue itself – how do we design for success, and how do we measure successful dialogue?  With a bit of introduction to the context of our work in the Delta, we want to share our learnings, recently published in our […]

“When you check in, you have to leave the world outside the room.”

A Simple Tool for Better Meetings

*A narrative version of this article was run by Zocalo and picked up by TIME.  Contrary to popular belief, meetings can be both productive and enjoyable. In my twenty years helping leaders learn to run such meetings, I’ve learned a lot of tricks. But by far the simplest, most powerful, and perhaps most surprising is this: Start your meeting with a check-in. From small NGOs and start-ups to Fortune 100 leadership teams and the UN, I start every meeting the same way: […]

Good News for Better Meetings!

  I’m excited to share that my latest article, which I wrote for the super cool Zocalo ezine/website, got picked up by TIME! It is a narrative piece about check-in’s and check-out’s, one of my favorite and easiest tools to make meetings more productive, more meaningful, and more interesting. The fact that this topic is getting picked up by top news sites is a sign, unfortunately, that too many of us are familiar with the pains of poorly run meetings. […]

Brown Bag: Leadership Tools & Practices for Large-Scale Change in Cities, with Ahmad Mansur

“The world’s public and private sector leaders believe that a rapid escalation in ‘complexity’ is the biggest challenge confronting them.… They identify ‘creativity’ as the single most leadership competency for seeking a path through this complexity.” – IBM CEO Study (2010) Leaders face enormous challenges in cities, regions and communities, from low-performing educational systems, public safety threats to crumbling infrastructures, housing shortages, workforce challenges, and environmental concerns. These problems are complex, multi-directional and cannot be solved with one leader, entity or […]

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The Power of Sitting in Circle

One early January morning two years ago, Jeff Conklin, Eugene Eric Kim, and I met at the Peet’s Coffee & Tea in Fairfield and drove on to Sacramento together. We went to talk with longtime stakeholders in the California Delta about a different way of thinking about the wickedly difficult problems of  water and the Delta. Last week was our penultimate meeting of the second phase of the project that resulted from that Sacramento trip: the Delta Dialogues. Over the […]