Blog > Three ‘new’ group processes

February 17, 2014

There’s probably no such this as a new process – variations on a theme maybe. Nonetheless, I’m excited to have used these over the last couple of weeks. Recorded here as much as a ‘note to self’ as well as something others might find useful.

Wave Analysis Evaluation

The Wave Analysis uses the metaphor of the wave to explore different practices in a particular industry. I’ll often use it early in a workshop to gauge people’s experience and breadth of knowledge. At the last Creative Facilitation workshop I used it to gather information from the participants about meeting processes. I dropped the New Edges (seems to be a step too far for many people). The ‘Wave’ was scattered with a few ideas about what happens in meetings that are established norms (mainstream), dying practices and emerging trends.

Wave AnalysisAt the end of the day, I gave everyone a different coloured pen from the one used at the beginning of the day, and asked them to add anything they liked to the ‘Wave’. here’s a snapshot of part of the ‘Wave’ – with the end-of-day comments in green.

This gave me a good idea as to what people remembered from the day. A quick and easy way to do some rough evaluation, and it’s not a ‘happy’ sheet!


Recap – one sentence at a time

We had one participant miss about an hour’s worth of the workshop. When she returned, I wanted her to have an idea of what we had done. I asked the other participants to describe what we had done in her absence one sentence at a time, keeping the story coherent and logical. In debriefing this approach (that I’d never tried before) it was suggested that I start, rather than putting pressure on one participant in the group to start. Good idea. Will definitely try this again. I suspect it works best with small groups (less than 12). Then again, it might work just as well with bigger groups. If you try it, let me know.

Values Activity

Step 1: Go through the group’s existing strategy docs, vision, mission, values statements etc and pull out all the individual words and or phrases that are used (no need to worry about context or whether or not they’re vision or something else)

Step 2: Print these individually on small cards. Make one set of cards for every 4 – 5 people in the group. (I had a group of 13, so made three sets of cards)

Step 3: Introduce the difference between Values (beliefs) and other statements that describe how you will do something (no need to get bogged down in definitions)

Step 4: Give each group a set of cards and ask them to separate the words/statements that are Values from the other cards. Side coach that if they’re unsure, keep it in the Values stack. When done, collect the discards from each group and set aside (can use these later for strategy, mission statements etc)

Step 5: Each group passes their remaining cards to the next group. Their task is to halve the number of cards. In this case, each group started with 30 cards. The number remaining ranged from 24 to 17. Round up, then halve.

Step 6: Collect the discards and set aside. Pass the remaining cards to the next group, and ask them to now halve the remainder.

Step 7: Post the remaining cards on the wall and look for similarities. (At this point I had no idea what would emerge. There was the potential for each group to have 6 or 7 different values. As it turned out, there was remarkable consistency, I think because the group was from a cohesive organisation. This may not work with a group from different organisations. Then again it might.)

Step 8: Do a Full Circle process on the chosen values to identify the behaviours you would see in relation to each value.

This activity reinforced two things for me: first, the importance of making space and providing a process for people to have conversations about the topic; and two, how you can avoid the deadly plenary processes in favour of small group, connected processes that enable all to have input, focus on the pieces as well as be aware of the whole.

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