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: […]

New Groupaya Brown-bag: Facilitating High-Conflict Groups

Groupaya brown-bags are back! We’d love you to join us April 16th at 1pm for a conversation about navigating high conflict groups. Kristin Cobble, our coach, consultant, and facilitator extraordinaire with years of experience helping groups lean-in to conflict  has volunteered to share her experience and wisdom. We’d also love to learn from the field, so come prepared to share whatever tips you might have as well as actively listen and learn. Our goal is to explore facilitation techniques to […]

Talk vs Action

Last September, we designed and facilitated a kick-off in Zurich for an organizational change initiative within a global corporate IT division. The meeting was large (200 leaders participating) and complex (both logistically and content-wise), one of the hardest with which I’ve ever been involved. It succeeded because our design was strong, Kristin’s facilitation was skillful, and our client was exceptionally competent. As evolved as I found this particular client, I still noticed some old-guard mindsets. The biggest was around the […]

The Facilitator’s Dilemma

I really loved Rebecca’s post on what she learned from facilitating our strategic planning process this past Fall. I want to riff on a point she made about the facilitator’s dilemma of sticking with the schedule versus letting conversations happen. Rebecca wrote:  I sometimes got visibly anxious when one of our three-hour sessions was clearly not going to result in the outcome I’d designed towards. In one particularly tense moment, Eugene turned to me and said “Rebecca, I know we are not […]