A couple of years ago, I was asked to facilitate a series of meetings involving the members of a public board appointed by a City Council in Colorado.  The Board was going through a period of transition, with a few new members having been appointed to the Board whose styles and values differed from their predecessors.  Furthermore, a new Board member was soon to become the chair, and the Director of the staff of the organization over which the Board had authority was soon to retire.  Many things were in flux, and Board meetings had become laden with conflict and less productive than in the past.  The goal of the meetings I was hired to facilitate was to develop an Action Plan to allow the Board to have more civil and productive deliberations and operations in the future.

After conducting a personal interview with each of the Board and staff members, I facilitated two planning meetings with the Board members, as a group.  After agreeing to a set of ground rules for their meetings (something I always help the members of any group to do at their first meeting), the group discussed the issues that had brought them to the table.  I was able to suggest an agenda with potential topics because I had already spoken one-on-one with everyone there.  Although the details of each interview were kept private, it was understood by everyone that I would produce proposed issues for discussion based on those interviews.  I made detailed notes at each group meeting, noting areas of agreement when they happened.

Finding the time for these special meetings had been a challenge for […]