Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

Sharing information took a long time in tactical meeting

We often encounter this issue, as one of the role create an agenda, on that agenda, she shares some information regarding one particular topic, then a discussion happens, then suddenly we spent good an hour on 1 agenda.

As a facilitator, what should I do on such situation? I tried proposing to create a discussion some other time, but the argument was, during tactical everyone is available and it's easier to gather feedback.

5 Replies
Tom Mulder
06/20/2017

It is all about what does the Proposer need. So by asking the opening question: “What do you need” the Proposer will give insight in the tension. As there are 5 pathways, you as Facilitator, can steer the process. If the Proposer is not fully clear, then use the 5 pathways to guide the Proposer. It is up to you as a Facilitator to make sure that discussions are focused on helping the Proposer. If you are not sure then cut it off in friendly way by asking the Proposer if this helps to get what the Proposer needs.

If the need is that the Proposer wants to request information/help to make a decision then people are asked for feedback. The only thing to provide is this feedback and then the Proposer has what he/she needs. No further discusion, only sharing of information. In all the other situations giving feedback is only allowed if this helps the Proposer in their need.

Dien Kwik
06/21/2017

Hi, Fajar:

According to article 4.2.3 (e) of the Holacracy constitution:

"... The Facilitator must attempt to allow time for processing every agenda item within the meeting, and in order to do so may cut off the processing of any item
that’s taking more than its due share of the remaining meeting time."

I normally advice the facilitator to use that section of the constitution to explain, before the meeting, that the promise to all circle member is that *ALL* agenda items will be processed within the *time allotted* for the meeting. In order to do that the facilitator must cut off any agenda items that are taking too long.

When people argue that they should do it right there at the tactical meeting, I normally advice the facilitator to suggest to the person wanting to share to actually share it right after the tactical meeting ends, so that he/she can fully concentrate on sharing and everyone else can concentrate on understanding the information without getting disrupted or distracted by facilitator cutting off conversations.

If everyone moves through all agenda items as quickly as possible, most of the time the meeting ends way before the scheduled end time, and whatever remaining time can be used for sharing.  

Win for the person wanting to share because he can get the full attention of everyone else's without being distracted or disrupted by the facilitator cutting off conversation,

Win for everybody else because everyone's tensions actually got processed.

Win for everyone, because doing these don't require additional meeting time, and don't require delaying.

 

 

Fajar Firdaus
06/21/2017

Thank you Tom & Dien,

When someone is sharing an information, often it transforms into feature brainstorming session, so I guess at this point, I should cut it off and ask the proposer what does he/she need. 

> I normally advice the facilitator to use that section of the constitution to explain, before the meeting, that the promise to all circle member is that *ALL* agenda items will be processed within the *time allotted* for the meeting. In order to do that the facilitator must cut off any agenda items that are taking too long.

Sometimes a new agenda is added during triage. So we thought there is enough time, but then the newly added agenda items couldn't be processed.

Slightly out of topic, but this 5 pathways, I can find it in http://www.holacracy.org/tactical-meetings but they are not explicitly stated in constitution right?

 

Jasper Rienstra
06/22/2017

Hi Fajar,

 Your issue is recognizable from many examples I have seen.

I think key here is: total clarity about the ‘process’, keeping the process and remaining neutral as a facilitator.

So all circle members learn it is not about ‘good arguments’ and the facilitator is there to facilitate the process (with which people can facilitate themselves) and to rigidly crush out-of-process interactions.

 Tips for facilitation:

  1. Be clear about how much time you are going to allow as a facilitator for each agenda item (easy: allotted time, divided by the amount of agenda items, and a couple of minutes extra for check-out). Of course this may change during the meeting as new agenda items are added, so don’t forget to give an update if relevant (‘hi all, just for your awareness: some new agenda items have been added, so now we have 10 items for 30 minutes so that is 3 minutes on average’).
  2. Cut people off when necessary. So always ask people ‘what do you need’ and if they only provide information (and do not answer your question) you can facilitate them by saying ‘sounds like you need to share information. Great! Just be aware that you have only 3 minutes in this meeting to do so. So you can try your best and be real quick and use your 3 minutes for that. OR you can use the 3 minutes to figure out: what would be a good other moment/time/medium/etc to share this information and request/capture a next action like ‘plan a meeting’ or something like that. It is up to you – just be aware that in all cases I am going to move to the next agenda item after 3 minutes. So, with these options in mind: what do you need right now?’. And then of course move to the next agenda item no matter what.
  3. Important here is to stay NEUTRAL as a facilitator. You write “I tried proposing to create a discussion some other time…”. I think you are working to hard there trying to solve the problem for her and losing your neutral position. Instead I would just, lightly, suggest what options there (the 5 pathways!) are and then leave it entirely to the agenda-item-owner to take care of what she needs. It sounds maybe unfriendly but: you as a facilitator really do not care about her problem or her arguments. You are however willing to help her, within the rules, progressing one first step in the right direction in what she needs and you do that … by keeping her & everybody else in process. By asking: what do you need. And clarifying THEIR 5 pathways.
  4. If this is fairly new for a circle, you provide some framing in a time out at the beginning of the meeting. That might make it easier for people not to take it personally when they are cut off. And make them more familiar with their options, their 5 pathways. This is why, visibly, using the tactical meeting process card really is good practice.
Jasper Rienstra
06/22/2017

"And then of course move to the next agenda item no matter what" - after 3 minutes that is :-)