When I was in boy scouts we used a simple technique to solve this problem. It’s bullet-proof and you can start using it in your next meeting. It’s called the talking stick.
We’re really excited about using this at Digitribal, because it works in line with one of our core commitments to “seek to understand before we seek to be understood”. It helps our team to remain extraordinary.
The rules -
- The chair of the meeting sets out these rules at the beginning of each meeting. The chair also starts the conversation and closes the conversation when the stick is finally passed back at the end.
- The end is known when no one else has anything to say
- Whomever holds the talking stick is speaking; all others are to listen
- The talking stick is passed from member to member until all members have had their say (this can be done in random order so as to keep the group focused on the speaker as they may be next to speak)
- Removes the need for a single purveyor of information (the appointed chair is not the sole focus of the meeting) this helps with members’ self worth
- Helps with consensus-based decision making as all perspectives are heard
- Those quieter personalities within the team have an opportunity to be heard
- Those more active participants have the opportunity to listen
- Builds a culture of respect and seeking to understand others
As a scout we used to use this tool when making decisions that would impact on the patrol. A good example of this was making the all important decisions of what would our patrol be called, what emblem we would take and most critically what food we would be taking on our campouts.
All these decisions help unify the patrol. So having a consensus based system for debate which allows for controlled discussion of the topic provided not only the patrol with a rewarding system of governance but the scout leaders a way of resolving dispute.
Have you had a team meeting using a similar technique?
I would love to hear about your experience when you comment on this post.