Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Mind your language, play nicely, listen in!

Before facilitating a knowledge capture (or 'lessons learned') meeting, it is good practice to establish common ground amongst participants on how the session will run. 

People should understand the ‘rules of the game’ so that potentially difficult topics are discussed in an inquisitive, yet collaborative, way.

Asking people to “play together nicely” captures this aspiration well but falls short on detail.

Such guidance might include:

·         Activity, not passivity – People are ‘participants’, not ‘attendees’.  Everyone should have something to say and expect to take part.  Otherwise, they should go elsewhere.

·         Good and bad alike – Lessons can be positive or negative.  People should be encouraged to recall good practice otherwise there is a risk it won’t be repeated.

·         All knowledge is welcome – ‘Rank’ has no place in these gatherings.  People considering themselves to be senior should make a special effort to listen and those that think they are junior should make a special effort to be heard.

·         Disagreement is healthy – the ‘truth’ is revealed through the combination of several perspectives but people must be careful in the language they use.

·         The aim is to learn, not praise or blame – such sessions should not be used to make people feel good about themselves, nor to ‘find fault’. The aim is to discover ‘what happened’ and learn from it.

·         Intellectual curiosity and ambition – People should be encouraged to challenge the status quo and, when recommending changes, be bold; others will always have the option to dilute proposals so there is no need to pull punches.

·         Allow facilitation – A facilitator can only run a meeting if everyone agrees that he or she is in charge.

·         Pay attention! Laptops and mobiles should remain hidden from view.  Calls should be taken outside the room or during breaks.

For further information on knowledge capture methods, please follow this link to the relevant page on the Knoco website.

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