Tools for Team Building and Facilitation

Our success depends on our ability to work together—including making sound decisions that lead to committed action. Despite our best efforts to engage and inform others, effective communication and decision-making is often elusive.

When decision-making and communication processes don’t work well, they eat time, energy and money, cause frustration and resentment, and sabotage even the best plans. These breakdowns can look like complaints that decisions weren’t clear, second-guessing decisions that were already made, people not having the information they need to do their jobs, silo-thinking, conflicts between being inclusive and being efficient, trouble making decisions, people not speaking their minds, etc.

Many organizations feel at a loss about how to address these kinds of dynamics.  They have often run into “solutions” that didn’t work well, either because they were too complex, or too touchy-feely for people to use comfortably.  But there are ways to transform internal communication and decision-making processes without creating complex systems, and without spending a lot of time in soul-searching exercises that feel “too personal” to many.  And while it does take some investment of time and effort, it is not as difficult as it sometimes appears, and it pays back many times over as your teams get to focus their best efforts on supporting the mission of your organization and doing the work you need them to do.

The tools collected here were developed organically, as part of facilitation, coaching and training processes.  They are used in the form you see here in the workshops I teach on creating powerful and productive teams through effective decision-making, building mutual respect and trust, and nurturing good communication. (You’ll find more on those workshops under Workshop and Training.)  The handouts were designed as support materials for a live, interactive process — as reminders about the details for people who had been through those processes, so they could easily continue to use the tools, and to train others in their use.  It is my hope that you will find them accessible and useful even if you have not been through the live process with me.  Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about them.

Click the links below to download pdfs of the tools and resources list.

Curiosity as a Path to Mutual Respect

Using What Questions to Move Meetings Forward

Roles in Decision-Making

Meeting Agenda Template and Tips

Decision Mapping Worksheet

Creating the Container for Good Meetings

Building Mutual Respect and Accountability

Building Strategic Thinking Into Your Meetings and Processes

Different Formats for Meetings

Small Group Work for Team Building

Moving from Complaints to Collaboration

Translating Complaints to Requests Exercise

Translating the Complaints of Others Exercise

The Three Complaints Exercise (for when meetings get tense or difficult)

Resources for Excellent Decision-Making

Please also see the list of Other Resources on the main Resources page.

Digging In

My eNewsletter, Different Angles, will explore some of these tools in more depth.  You can subscribe here.

Feel like it is going to take more than a few handouts to transform the decision-making and communication dynamics in your organization?

I’ve spent a lot of years developing, using and teaching simple, effective tools for supporting these changes.  The process of transforming decision-making processes inside organizations can be guided and supported by any combination of training, coaching and learning-focused facilitation.  I’d love to talk with you about the particular challenges you are wrestling with, and what kinds of support would help you take the needed steps to create the transparent and effective culture of communication and decision-making you need for your organization to thrive.

Please contact me to set up a free discovery conversation to explore what might work best for your organization.

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