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Leading Groups to Solutions in Action: A Case Study Profile

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Leading Groups to Solutions

Most organizations today are composed of multiple work groups or project teams. These groups and teams require someone to direct the efforts and harness the energies of those involved to achieve desired results. Being able to facilitate and lead groups to solutions requires insight and a unique skill set to provide vision, guidance, resources, and help the team succeed as combined contributors. Leading Groups to Solutions is an interactive workshop experience that helps managers, leaders, or individual contributors define and gain consensus for group objectives, evaluate their teams, and channel their best energy and thinking to deliver business results while building relationships. CMOE clients who are using Leading Groups to Solutions as part of their leadership and employee development initiatives have had tremendous success with this unique program and topic. Specifically, clients have found that leaders more effectively: • • Establish ground rules and guidelines that their teams use when working together, reaching consensus, and solving problems Create concrete plans with their group to ensure action and follow through on decisions and goals. Develop accountability milestones and measures with groups, so progress can be tracked and evaluated.

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• • •

Open up communication channels within their team so there are higher levels of commitment and empowerment. Discuss problems, share ideas, and identify the root causes so the right solution can be created. Transfer the skills learned to the job because they have practiced the elements of the Model during the workshop experience.

One of the most important payoffs for CMOE clients is that the workshop raises a leader’s awareness that the ability to facilitate the work of a team or group is critical to leadership capability and that it is often overlooked or underdeveloped. Exposing participants to the need for this skill re-frames the mindset about the importance of effectively facilitating the work of teams and groups. Once the awareness has been raised, participants are then positioned to develop skills and apply the concepts and tools to their team. They are able to connect with their team, draw out ideas, and make the time spent together as a group highly effective and efficient.

Executive Endorsement

The Director of People Development at Sauer Danfoss, a manufacturing company said: “My association with CMOE for over 15 years has always been favorable. I appreciate the company's values and rely on their expertise in many areas (Coaching, Teamwork, and Facilitation/Leading Groups to Solutions). I specifically trust CMOE to stay current with trends in business, create research-based products, and customize solutions to meet my needs. Regarding Leading Groups to Solutions, the workshop is effective because of the Model, which is based on the research of effective and ineffective facilitators of groups. The Leading Groups to Solutions Model and workshop provides group leaders specific how-to skills. They are also able to identify current strengths and opportunities for development, compare their style to the Model, and then apply learning in actual practice. Because the actual practice is done with ‘live’ business issues, the learning is greater than if participants were practicing using abstract or generic situations. Of course, the business benefits from the solutions the groups arrive at are a very important ‘side benefit’ of the workshop.”

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The 10-Step Process

1. Gain the buy in and commitment of key stakeholders to effective facilitation. 2. Map out a strategy for the transformation process. 3. Customize the Leading Groups to Solutions Workshop material. 4. Develop and certify a core group of internal change agents and facilitators. 5. Teach Leading Groups to Solutions Skills. 6. Define the organization’s team facilitators (10 senior leaders). 7. Provide individual consulting support and assistance (help lines, reviews, and advice). 8. Reinforcement learning and skill development on use of Leading Groups to Solutions principles. 9. Report results and celebrate breakthroughs. 10. Refine, institutionalize, and make Leading Groups an ongoing ritual (part of doing business).

10 Keys to Success

1. Provide the flexibility for each functional area to customize the rollout process. 2. Customize training needs to be linked with prior learning experiences. 3. Internal resources, subject matter experts, and instructors are critical. 4. A clear high level strategy and direction is an important beacon for employees and supervisors. 5. Sustained success depends on senior leadership support. 6. Leaders must talk, coach, and be a positive strategic thinking role model. 7. Define specific target areas for employees and teams to shoot for. 8. Active supervision, accountability, and regular documentation of results have to be rigorously maintained.

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9. Follow-up training is very important. 10. Some results take time to materialize. Don’t expect an immediate or marked change in short term indicators (monthly or quarterly). Strategic results need to be measured over a longer time frame.

Results

The following experiences are actual bottom-line results that have occurred with CMOE clients as a result of Leading Groups to Solutions.

• A participant from Plainview, Texas related his experience with the skills he developed. He

allowed his employees to facilitate group meetings, let them “run the show.” What he discovered was that at first they replicated his facilitation style (both good and bad). However, the more he empowered his employees to conduct meetings, the more they began to demonstrate their own original thoughts and ideas increasing team member participation during the meeting. He discovered his employees were very capable and even willing to take extra efforts to help the company succeed, especially if they were involved in the initial planning or decision making. This participant learned that he could still facilitate and lead his team without being the primary voice and idea generator.

• A shipping manager from Arkansas, who attended the Leading Groups to Solutions

session, had his employees fill out a survey to help identify why they were experiencing high box damage and discarded product. He asked his fellow managers, including another participant in the Leading Group to Solutions class to plan a meeting and review the survey answers. Together they planned an agenda to: a) Prioritize causes b) Complete a process model showing the problem areas c) Develop an action plan based on the survey finding.

The managers discovered that often times the silent group members (the thinkers) had the best ideas. Effective facilitators can draw ideas out of those individuals. The team developed action plans to address the causes of damaged boxes and discarded product. Because of the survey, meetings, and action taken, the cost of damage was significantly reduced from $1,500.00 a week to $600.00 a week within one month.

“Effective groups concentrate on what is right, not on who is right. Meetings aren’t a competition to see who can be the most clever or insightful. Rather meetings represent a commitment to achieve the best results.” —Steven J. Stowell, Joel McCausland, and Stephanie Mead Leading Groups to Solutions: A Practical Guide for Facilitators and Team Members

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A small division of a company asked previous Leading Groups to Solutions participants to lead an emergency fundraising effort to support those who were affected by the Tsunami Disaster in Asia. These participants immediately implemented the techniques they learned during the workshop. By listening and letting others voice their opinions and ideas they were able to develop a quick and effective plan and within a very short time. The employees of this division raised almost $9,000 which was then matched by their corporate office to produce a contribution of over $17,000 toward the Asian relief efforts.

For more information, contact CMOE at +1 801 569 3444 or visit our website: www.CMOE.com.

© CMOE

+1 801 569 3444

www.CMOE.com