“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: […]

Group Process on Steroids

We often describe our work to others as “group process on steroids.” It’s like organizational development, community organizing, and other related practices done really, really well. Except that it’s also somewhat different. What exactly does that mean?! It means doing whatever you can and leveraging whatever tools are at your disposal to enable groups to work skillfully together, to help them come alive. Where exactly do the steroids come in?! (My business partner, Kristin Cobble, took a pass at this […]

My Trip to the Pacific Northwest

I was up in Portland and Seattle last week for a bunch of meetings, and I had a chance to have many wonderful conversations with some old and new friends and colleagues. Here are three takeaways from my trip: 1. Groups with soul and purpose. In Portland, I had a chance to catch up with Jelly Helm, who has devoted his life to telling stories about organizations with purpose. Jelly was preparing for his upcoming potlatch, and while showing me […]