by Dale Shumaker
Moments of Impact by Chis Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon is about having meetings that are strategic conversations that accelerate change. They show the difference between the normal meeting and how to design those that inspired innovations for changes needed in any area of the business.
A strategic conversation doesn’t feel like a regular meeting or brainstorming session. It’s a problem-solving session that engages participants not just analytically but creatively and emotionally.
The times we live in are a VUCA World, which is an environment of non-stop volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. We live in a world where we can be blind sided by change which produces an uncertainty. Designing a strategic conversation can get to better solutions faster and more effectively than a meeting’s normal process. Adaptive challenges are messy, open-ended and ill defined. A new design is needed to handle challenges that we must quickly adapt to.
A pretty good meeting is recognized as one with clear objectives, participants who can help with the objectives, content that is laid out clearly, a venue the right size for the group, and an agenda which will bring us to the next steps, roles and responsibilities. A strategic conversation works differently. Here’s the difference.
A well-organized meeting declares the objectives with the emphasis on getting to the next step.
The well-design strategic conversation defines the purpose behind a larger process of change being pursued.
The meeting identifies participants… the right people in the room.
The strategic conversation seeks to engage multiple perspectives to combine ideas from different places.
The meeting provides relevant content.
The strategic conversation brings up issues framed around future possibilities.
The meeting finds a venue of the appropriate size for the group or task.
The strategic conversation organizes an environment that supports the participants to enhance insightful, emotional, creative conversation.
The meeting sets the agenda in a logical right sequence.
The strategic conversation creates an experience where participants engage emotionally as well as analytically.
A strategic conversation begins with defining your purpose.
Seize the moment of the challenge you face. Start with a question.
Pick one purpose and go slow to go fast.
Next is engage multiple perspectives.
Assemble a dream team which are not “must invite people” but those who will give you multiple perspectives to the problem or the challenge needed to be adapted to. It’s those who can work with ambiguity, who will share in the purpose, common understanding of the problem, have a sense of urgency, a language they all understand. Find hidden needs and map motivations.
Next frame the issues. Create a picture of how the issue looks from varied perspectives. Get into participants heads and analyze the challenge, and their emotional sensitive areas in the problem. Think inside different boxes. How they may look at it if in a different box. e.g., how a marketing person would view an operational process. Create agenda in progress, bring in content as you go, as is relevant.
Then set the scene. Pick a room that opens the mind with space, good lighting, easy to move around, windows with scenery, mobile. Seat for interaction and conversation. Use images to support words. Get out of dodge and find a refreshing environment.
Make it an experience. Watch for things that turn us to meeting autopilot… the lengthy slide show, lecture, exhaustive handout. Engage the whole person, and do things that will be memorable… creative interactions, sharing emotion with reason. Provide an air where people can discover for themselves which includes the heart and the head. One way is to create a gaming atmosphere. Debrief… ask what could happen to make the meeting a total flop… as a way to prep for the meeting.
Share views and emotions and then determine where to go with it. Start with purpose and end with what the agenda should be. Make the meeting a moment of impact, an experience where instinct and raw emotions are expressed in seeing future possibility.
The authors include a 60-page starter kit to put this to work. They are very comprehensive in their examples in the book to explain how to have moments of impact. More at:
How to get Divine Intelligence.
In the Bible, those who sought the Lord for answers first, were assured of God’s direction for them. When Joshua and David were thinking of going into battle they asked God’s advice on whether they should even enter the battle, and then how to do it. God gave them precise directions. Jesus inquired of the Lord first. He said He did nothing outside the Father’s direction or will for Him.
When reading some of the works by those in the 30’s (Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, for example) who’s principles helped America recovery from the Great Depression, we find a pattern that gave them and others Divine Intelligence. Here’s a summary of what worked for them.
1. Faith. They all had faith, believing in something much better than themselves can happen. Their faith was enlarged by their faith in God. Everything was believed to be possible, because they saw God as an active part of the process, since His Spirit creates through those who believe in His Power at work. This bred enthusiasm... (enthusiasm means God is within). So all things are possible outside of them. Vision faith then becomes a powerful force in their lives... a creative vision of new potential.
2. Transformation of the mind. The mind had to be reprogrammed to a new way of thinking, continuous learning and learning from others. It takes deliberate mental rehearsal to accomplish this.
Moving the mind from negative to Positive,
from critical to the Possible,
from what's wrong to "How I can fix it!" way of thinking.
We do this by inundating our mind with Spiritual Thought, continually; by listening, thinking, speaking, reading, interacting... constantly cultivating a frame of mind of positive potential. We are renewed by transforming our mind (Romans 12:1)
3. Form Dreaming Teams. A Dreaming Team includes those who dream with you for positive solutions. Those who collaborate to find ways to carry them out, to create new results. Napoleon Hill called them mastermind groups. Jesus said where two or three agree it will be done. When minds are in harmony great power is released... ideas which engage the powers of God's Spirit.
4. Strategic Action
Strategic Action was part of their plans. The strategic actions included Divine Guidance as part of them. In other words, they relied on God-Inspired ideas and sought God-orchestrated direction. They believed everyone can hear from God and have His High level of intelligence at work with them. Joshua and David in their battles followed strategic action given by God’s Spirit to them.
They combined knowledge with Divine Strategy and added collaborating, cooperative action. When Jesus said, where two or three agree, he was referring to a culture where love was strong and they had a powerful bond of love between them.
Any group of two or three, or more who have this as a core, will see the strengths, wisdom, and Divine Intelligence of God’s Spirit working along side them....