Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Capture the Content! (9/12)

Last time ("Hit the Road") we assembled the knowledge-sharing kickoff meeting participants at the Customer's location and put the conversation into high gear. It's funny how things work, but once the conversation begins, it develops a life of its own.

Unless .... you put a tape recorder in the middle of the table! THAT is a sure-fire conversation killer! Even the most gregarious and voluble individuals go mute if faced with that technology. What would have been a 3- or 4-hour, jam-packed interchange can be cut off in 10 minutes if the "record" button is hit.

How do we ensure that we capture all of the good content, once it begins flowing? Once again, we put the FAC (Facilitator) to work. Pen in hand, he becomes the documentation specialist. Because he is skilled in listening actively, he is able to keep track of what is currently being said even while writing down what was JUST said.

All of this multi-tasking, of course, is enhanced greatly by the fact that (unlike most people, in most situations) he is not preoccupied with what he, himself, is going to say next! The brain bandwidth normally devoted to planning a response can be reallocated to notating what others have said.

By means of this painstaking (yet apparently-effortless and unintimidating) scribing, the FAC records in writing the content that is contributed. As much as possible, he also makes note of the individual that contributes each idea. Differences of opinion among the representatives of the Customer are thereby easily identified for future consideration.

Often, it is precisely in those differences of opinion that REAL insights come to light. The ability to go back and track the FLOW of the conversation highlights the informational content as well as the working relationships of the individuals representing the Customer's organization.

After all is said and done, it is only within that TOTAL dynamic of people AND content that the REAL business of the Customer takes place. No vacuums exist on the Technology Planning Planet!

Next time, we will investigate how to keep the conversation on track, in case things become mysterious.

Part 9 of 12, Lyn Gosz, Gosz Group Technology Planners