I recently returned from San Francisco having had a unique business experience. I think it’s probably fair to say that for most big projects there is a warming period between the interactors before they ever meet face to face either in person or on a medium such as Skype. This meeting was the closest thing I’ve had to a blind date since 1987. With a common business goal in mind, the meeting planner brought us all together to workshop or in this case brainstorm.
It was obvious from the get go that there was some demographic diversity between the attendees. The age groups ran from anywhere from thirty-one to somewhere in the mid-to-high sixties. There were millionaires in the group, sole trading consultants, mothers, employees from Fortune 500 companies, oh, and me.
Early on in the discussion a situation arose in which the two most diverse contributors started to butt heads to the point where the conversational tone had moved from constructive criticism to embarrassingly confrontational. As their egos engaged, what they both didn’t or simply weren’t prepared to see was that they each had extremely valid points. One was the head and the other the tail of the SAME cat. It was only until the conclusion of the day and coincidentally the formation of the plan going forwards that the two two individuals came together in the team sense, realizing that they both had valid points and extremely important roles to play.
A brainstorming session involves ‘Rainmakers’, ‘Lightning Strikers’,’Winds of Change’ and Calm after the meeting. Each one of these profiles brings a unique perspective to the table and so long as a stillness ensues at the end of the brainstorming session people can move forward with their tasks. Here is a brief profile breakdown of the people you want in those breakout sessions:
‘Rainmakers’ – New business predators
‘Lightning Strikers’ – Devils advocates
‘Winds of Change’ – Innovators
‘Calm’ – De-briefers and forward planners
Passive energy rarely cuts it in breakout meetings – make sure you whip up that storm for maximum effect. Identify those people NOW.