Meetings that Matter Most℠
If you’ve been in a leadership role for any length of time, you have undoubtedly participated in one or more meetings that materially affected your enterprise’s future — one way or the other. It might have been:
- a multi-day offsite meeting at which your organization’s long-term strategies and action plans were created, modified, or completely revamped;
- a meeting of your organization’s senior leadership team intended to address internal tensions and/or competing agendas;
- a visioning session during which the foundational direction of your enterprise was challenged and/or solidified;
- an innovation workshop during which new products, services, or business models were envisioned;
- a conference of stakeholders (e.g., partners, investors, suppliers, customers, etc.) at which new information was collected and/or shared; or
- a board-level meeting at which approval was sought for new strategies, goals, budgets, etc.
Our Sweet Spot
We focus on meetings that really matter — meetings that have the potential to materially affect an organization’s future. Our capabilities and expertise are a strong match for the following:
We believe that better meetings lead directly to better results. Both Catalyst principals have deep and broad expertise in designing, preparing, facilitating, and following up on critical meetings for teams, workgroups, task forces, and other stakeholders.
We believe that thorough preparation is the key to successful meeting outcomes, and our expertise is best used to not only consult on the agenda, but also shape the meeting process and timing in order to ensure productive outcomes. We are deeply conscious of the opportunity cost of “face time,” and work hard to ensure that the bulk of meeting time is spent primarily in focused analysis and discussion, rather than in one-way presentation.
We have extensive experience facilitating high-stakes meetings for Boards, the C-suite, issue-based stakeholders in government settings, and teams of all types. Our broad business background means that, unlike many facilitators, we are also able to engage credibly on business content, and often provide content modules in our facilitations on such topics as innovation, marketing, strategy, and organizational change.
Each Catalyst principal has long-term relationships with several teams, helping these teams and their individual members to develop over time and allowing us to provide as-needed facilitation, individual coaching, and consultation on business issues.
We are deeply committed to helping teams achieve synergy, and recognize that doing so requires time, dedicated attention, and willingness to engage around difficult issues. We take team development seriously, and therefore do not use the term “team building,” which refers to a particular type of team development that is not appropriate at all times in the team development cycle.
We believe that effective teams lead to more effective meetings, which lead to improved business outcomes and results.
Strategic Planning and Visioning
Many Catalyst facilitations include some aspect of strategic planning and/or visioning. These include:
- initial development or revisiting of clear and motivating statements of organizational mission and/or vision;
- statement of core values and development of clear behavioral guidelines demonstrating those core values in daily decision-making;
- clarification and/or modification of value propositions and/or business models;
- elaboration of core competencies/strategic pillars essential to maintaining competitive advantage, based on the business model;
- development of “big bets” or overall direction and goals for a 3-5 year period;
- development of 1-year objectives and targets;
- facilitation of action planning to achieve 1-year goals; and
- facilitation of task forces, work groups, teams, and/or steering committees tasked with achievement of 1-year goals or other key objectives.
Some Truths about Change
We have been professional outsiders and change agents for a long time, and we have learned (sometimes the hard way) what works and what doesn’t when it comes to helping our clients achieve their objectives. Whether you choose to work with us or not, we urge you to consider the following experience- and research-based tenets:
All strategies should be FUTURE-FOCUSED, working from long-term goals and objectives backward. And they need to be grounded in an accurate and clear-eyed view of today;
All change is BEHAVIORAL, meaning that individuals must begin to consistently do things differently in order for real change to occur;
Changes to structure, processes, systems and rewards are necessary to MAINTAIN and SUPPORT change —they will not create it in the absence of granular behavior change;
High-functioning teams (especially high-functioning senior teams) achieve SYNERGISTIC RESULTS. Developing and maintaining a high-functioning team takes clear, focused, and consistent effort that moves through important stages; and
Across organizations, meetings of various types are the INFLECTION POINTS for positive change.
This latter learning is why we focus on facilitating meetings. But not just any meetings. We focus on meetings that really matter — meetings that have the potential to materially affect an organization’s future.
We call these events Meetings that Matter Most℠.
Methods and Tools
Catalyst employs a variety of methods and tools in its engagements, in order to ensure the best fit with desired outcomes, corporate culture, and client preferences. This is a partial list of the approaches and tools we have available:
- All of our facilitations are custom-designed to meet the needs and desired outcomes of the session. Any or all of the tools and techniques available may be employed in a facilitation setting, as appropriate. This is a Catalyst core competency, and we employ a thorough planning approach to meeting design and facilitation;
- Trained in Future Search methodology;
- World Café; and
- Open Space.
- We use customized approaches to conducting an environmental scan; developing mission, vision, and guiding behavioral principles; outlining your organization’s business model/value proposition; and defining strategic pillars, goals, objectives, metrics, and/or action items;
- Logic model strategic planning approach;
- Balanced Scorecard;
- Business Model Canvas;
- Value Proposition Canvas; and
- Activity Mapping (Michael Porter).
- We can employ a variety of individual and team assessments, including DiSC®, Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team®, MBTI®, FIRO®, and TKI®;
- Team effectiveness survival simulations (paper and pencil);
- Definition of team purpose, behavioral norms, and key processes; and
- Customized team development activities and outputs.
- Custom-designed qualitative interviewing;
- Qualitative surveys;
- Custom-designed data collection tools for specialized analyses (e.g., GE-McKinsey Nine Box Matrix).
- Customized approaches to aligning the elements of organizational design. These approaches may be guided by any of a number of frameworks (as preferred by the organization), such as:
- McKinsey 7S Model
- Weisbord 6-Box Model
- Variety of assessment and feedback tools, including those listed under Team Effectiveness as well as;
- Motivational Interviewing
- Organic (viral) approach to granular behavior change, which is then supported by standard change management approaches (structures, processes, training, communication programs, etc.).
- A subset of facilitation work, involving provision of custom-designed learning and skill development sessions to leaders (soft skills emphasis).