The authors are “on a mission to eradicate time-sucking, energy-depleting workshops and meetings,” a goal that we can all celebrate. Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon are proponents of “strategic conversations,” which differ from a regular meeting or a brainstorming session in both design and agenda. A strategic conversation is an interactive problem-solving session with a clear, concise objective that engages participants analytically, creatively and emotionally.
Beyond establishing the agenda and giving participants time to prepare, a strategic conversation’s success depends on assembling the right group of people in the right environment—one that pushes participants beyond the competition, group-think, self-interest and “yabbut” (yes, but) thinking that too often cripples creativity and undermines organizational goals.
Strategic conversations have five core principles:
1. Declare the objectives and define the purpose.
2. Identify participants and engage multiple perspectives.
3. Assemble content and frame the issues.
4. Find a venue and set the scene.
5. Set the agenda and make it an experience.
In Moments of Impact, Ertel and Solomon articulate the purpose, principles and practices of well-designed strategic conversations and support their ideas with a lively, convincing mix of social science theories and research, interviews with organizational leaders, anecdotes and case studies, and an invaluable 60-page Starter Kit with diagnostic questions, succinct advice, and implementable tips and suggestions to enable you to put the ideas to work immediately.
by Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon
Simon & Schuster; $28