Life can be a lot easier for you as a facilitator and for the team if you can create repeatable and scalable processes. In this video, Prakash discusses some of the tools you can use with a team, and how you can help a team integrate them into their existing team dynamic and culture.
- One key reason meetings and their subsequent contribution to a team's effectiveness fail has to do with an inconsistency and misalignment on tools. This means they might not remember they agreed upon commitments, the agenda, or what the pre-reads were. So while everyone intends to create alignment and tries to collaborate, they fail. Often times, teams deliberate on which tools to use, the features and benefits. In my experience, most of what is debated is a set of edge cases, such as a tool's integration with certain software that is used rarely.
What's more important is the fact that everyone is aligned to using it and knows how to use it. Ultimately, you want to create the minimum amount of friction for people to access and/or collaborate on a file. So with that, I'd like to provide a few questions that you as a facilitator can ask in order to help teams decide. To start, what cloud platforms does your company already subscribe to? There's no use in choosing Google Docs if your company has fully bought in on Microsoft. Does everyone know how to use the platform or tool? I can't tell you how many times I've heard a team member confide in me that they actually don't know how to use a tool is using and so they don't even try.
Don't assume that everyone knows how to use a tool. If people don't know how to use it, invest in training, or invest in another tool that everyone does know how to use. Don't forget to think about what exactly you'll use the tool or tools for. Maybe the team can agree that one tool is used to capture notes, while another is used to host pre-reads. What tools will you commit to using and for what situation? Often times, teams can get caught in a vicious cycle of analysis paralysis, especially at a large company where you have plenty of tools to choose from.
As a facilitator, your goal is to get them to commit to using specific tools consistently, so solicit commitment. Now, people may be aligned to the tools and feel excited about this in any meeting. But old habits die hard. In all cases, the key thing is to ensure that every team member is aligned to the tools you'll be using for any and all situations. To do so, I encourage you, the facilitator, to design a simple accountability system. Here's an example. You can ask the team to tally for the next four weeks how many times they use any tool other than the ones that they've agreed to, and present it in any team meeting.
The purpose of doing so is to surface awareness of their departure from what was agreed upon. Then, bringing it up nudges a team to recommit to what was aligned upon. We spend a lot of time debating on glitzy functions of software and special case integrations. Remember, tools just help us achieve our goals. Try to focus less on the feature debate and more on the collective commitment. Pick a tool and get the job done.