Friday, August 13, 2010

Wow! What a meeting THAT was! (12/12)

Last time ("Put the Guru to Work"), we looked at the crucial role of the supplier's guru during the course of the kickoff knowledge-sharing meeting. And that is just the beginning!

The conversations begun during the course of the kickoff meeting lead to future exchanges. When technological issues and technical questions come to the minds of the customer's participants, the guru's image flashes to mind! No problem picking up that phone and talking to the guru; the skids are already well prepared.

In the same way, the bigger product and business issues are now staged for ongoing discussion between customer and supplier key players. The context has already been communicated. No need to spend additional time providing background each time that a new issue (opportunity?) arises. The framework for the ongoing working relationship -- the knowledge-sharing relationship -- is firmly in place.

It is important to reference the solidification of this new relationship at the close of the kickoff meeting. Things have gone so well. So much meaningful content has been shared. This is NOT the time to let anyone leave that meeting room without being fully aware of the value that has been created.

That value, tangible at this moment, is the linking element that will carry the knowledge-sharing and joint-planning relationship to to its next steps. Reiterate the next steps and reconfirm the value of the content. Take extra care to repeat the confidentiality commitments that are in place. Reconfirm that the content -- and the ongoing relationship -- will be treated with respect.

And then, bask in the good vibes. Typically, the close of the knowledge-sharing kickoff meeting is filled with positive statements.

"I've never been part of a meeting that had so MUCH good content in it!"
"Wow! That was really an amazing meeting!"
"I learned crucial things from other people in my own company!"
"What aren't ALL of our suppliers doing this kind of thing?"

The supplier's facilitator (FAC) and guru are also smiling. They are also very busy thanking all of the participants and reiterating their positive anticipation about future discussions. There is no doubt that they are committed to keep the knowledge-sharing ball rolling -- you can see it in their eyes!

Part 12 of 12, by Marilyn (Lyn) Gosz, Gosz Group Technology Planners