Enable your key stakeholders to have conversations about the things that really matter
An OTM Strategic Conversation® creates a shared understanding of your vision, challenges, stakeholder views and strategies for moving forward. They can be tailored for any large group environment and can be hosted anywhere in the world.
“Organisations That Matter was engaged to assist our new team to develop a shared understanding of how we wish to be seen by our key stakeholders. In less than four hours we participated in a highly engaging OTM Strategic Conversation® that involved everyone in our team. At the conclusion of the event, we had a clear and shared set of agreed tasks that will enable us to move forward as one team. Without question, the half-day event was worth the investment.”
Ben Forsyth, National Australia Bank
Imagine hosting a conversation where every member of your team could actively participate to create a shared understanding of what your team or organisation are trying to achieve.
“But my team is too large!” you might say. No team is too large to host a strategic conversation. How do we know?
We have participated in and hosted OTM Strategic Conversations® from 12 to 1,000 participants!
A second example exists for you to view. In this situation, the organisation used the OTM Strategic Conversation process as a way of engaging with their customers via a Customer Summit.
Please contact us if you would like to engage us to host a Strategic Conversation for your organisation.
Who should host an OTM Strategic Conversation®?
Organisational leaders who wish to engage their team members in creating truly outstanding results should host strategic conversations.
“But my team is located across a number of locations. The costs alone of bringing them together make this impossible!”
Fortunately the word ‘impossible’ has an opposite – in this case it is ‘what’s possible?’. Technology has enabled strategic conversations to ‘bring in’ people from outside the physical event. A twitter back channel is just one example of how this can be achieved.
What is the process for conducting an OTM Strategic Conversation®?
Based upon the initial work of Juanita Brown and David Isaacs the following eight-step process is recommended.
- Ensure the venue is set up ‘café style’, including access to natural light
- Hold a brief keynote to set the scene for the strategic conversation
- Introduce the etiquette for the conversation and explain the role of the table hosts
- Pose the first question
- ‘Cross-pollinate’ the conversations by rotating for two to three rounds
- Hold a ‘town hall’ to capture the themes from the question
- Repeat steps 5 to 7 for the remaining questions (usually 3 to 4 questions in total)
- Summarise and share the ‘next steps’
The power in the process
People have an amazing capacity to talk when they are in a café! Strategic conversations capitalise on that natural human capacity. When the theme of the strategic conversation and the questions that are posed are about issues that matter, then people will be engaged and they will talk. The process enables people who would not normally talk with each other to do so.
As a result, good ideas are accepted for what they are and the initiator of the idea can fade into the background. This is extremely important in the context of enabling senior staff to participate 100% in the conversation.
In other forms of large group conversations, an idea from a senior staff member can be seen negatively – just because it came from the senior staff member. Our experience in conducting strategic conversations has seen this issue disappear. Good ideas are shared and accepted no matter who raised them.
Questions Create Possibilities
Questions for conversation can be extremely powerful when they engage the minds and hearts of the participants. Successful strategic conversations are directly linked with the power of the questions used. This is why we work very closely with our clients to establish the right questions for the audience that will be participating in the strategic conversation.
When questions allow people to consider what is possible, it is amazing the shift in their mindset that can take place. For example, one of our clients requested that we help them to engage their Shared Services team to enable them to raise the standard of their service delivery.
The initial question of the strategic conversation was, “What if the Shared Services Team was the most profitable division of the organisation?”.
While initially considered ‘impossible’ the conversation that unfolded was extremely powerful. The ultimate mind shift occurred when people began to see how they would operate differently if they saw themselves as a profit centre versus their current perspective that they were a ‘cost’ centre. Within two years two teams from the Shared Services division of that company had won Australian Service Excellence Awards and the Shared Services team was raising a considerable amount of income from consulting services.
An OTM Strategic Conversation is a powerful process to quickly create a shared understanding of the future that a team or organisation is trying to create. Most importantly, an OTM Strategic Conversation® helps people to work out how they will create that desired future.