An Interview with Sara Grigsby
a story, a conversation, a case
Each issue of The Yoga of Leadership will include a feature article. We
will begin with a series of interviews with Sara Grigsby, the founder of
Healthy Systems and Senior OD Consultant for NW Natural Gas. Mira Ames, a
communications specialist who writes for Healthy Systems, conducts the interview.
She starts the series with a conversation about her organization development
practice, and about the name, The Yoga of Leadership.
Click here for the interview with
We are interested in stories about organizational health, culture
and operational improvement. If you have a story to tell, please contact
us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information and Insights
Each issue will focus on one area of practice. We’ll give you a brief
description followed by quick tips you can apply immediately. In this issue
we'll focus on meeting management and facilitation and the role of the facilitator.
The role of a pure or classic Facilitator is a neutral one. A facilitator
focuses on process (how the meeting is conducted), people (fairness, inclusion,
candor, etc.) and results (the goals of the meeting). A true facilitator
strives to remain neutral – releasing or suspending any bias for
or against. A facilitator does not express opinion or preference for content,
for example, options being discussed in a meeting. Neutrality ensures an
unbiased approach to process, people and results. It minimizes manipulation
of the team by the facilitator.
It is within your role to have an opinion on Process, People and whether
the team will reach its desired Outcomes or Results. Conducting this role
well is critical to the success of many meetings. If, for example, a group
wants to stay on a particular agenda item longer than the time allotted,
the Outcomes implication is that other items will not be covered or covered
well. It is within the role of the facilitator to point this out. In
addition, if, during a brainstorming session, the facilitator hears one
or more members of the group making evaluative comments (criticisms or
advocacy for) while the rest of the group remains in a brainstorming mode
(non-evaluative), it is the role of the facilitator to keep all members
on the same step in the process.
• Take the time to define your role during meeting Start ups. It
can as little as 30 seconds. “As I facilitator, my job is to remain
neutral on the content of your discussions and decision-making. This means,
for example, that I will not advocate for one option over another. My role
is to assist you in reaching your desired outcomes (Results), to insure
the members of the group have an opportunity to participate (People), and
to keep you on track (Process).
• During Start ups, always review the agenda. The time you take at
the beginning will pay off later in the meeting. Reviewing the agenda draws
the members’ attention away from whatever activity they were involved
in prior to the meeting and aligns the group’s attention toward commons
goals. To prepare the group to stay “on track,” refer to the
third column of the agenda, the Process column. This column tells the group
what steps it will go through to reach its Desired Outcome. “We will
move through these steps together.”
Each issue will include links, complimentary tools and downloadable products.
For more information on any of the content focus areas, simply link on that
content area. This month, you may want to visit the Meetings
section of our site.
Sample Agenda: Download
this complimentary tool. It will provide assistance for time management, goal
setting, process and role clarification.
Thinking, Speaking and Acting Like Facilitator:
Download this complimentary tool. It's a tip
sheet of Words and Phrases to use in your meetings.
Principles of Facilitation:
12 guidelines, mental models and heart-sets that guide a successful facilitator.
They'll support you when the agenda isn't enough. Click
here for a product description.
WORDS AND MEANING
Establishing a shared language
Each issue of The Yoga of Leadership will include working definitions
of key words found in the issue.
• Yoga – to yoke, to control, to integrate; practice
or discipline for growth and improvement
• Health – a state of wholeness such that you feel whole
and act from that wholeness; freedom in all respects; the ability to do
the work required; peace of mind and wellbeing.
• Organization development – a system-wide application
of behavioral science and systems knowledge to the conscious development,
improvement and reinforcement of the strategies, structures, and processes
that lead to organizational health.
• Desired Outcomes – the measurable, desired results
or goals of a meeting.
• Agenda – the pathway or roadmap used to achieve the
Desired Outcomes of the meeting. Agendas generally include four columns
for the time, the topic, the process and the person.
• Principle – an experiential truth; a rule or law; or
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• Would you like to submit a tip or share something
you've have learned about organizational improvement? Got a war story? Have
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• The Yoga of Leadership is published by
Healthy Systems, PO Box 146, Corbett, Oregon 97019