I have been working primarily with teams over the past ten years. Teams of various sizes at various types of businesses : law firms, tutoring companies, retail stores and restaurants. I’ve had all kinds of meetings : some to get partners, managers and staff on to understand how to present their unique selling proposition. The most challenging is when I bring the company together to get everyone focused on changes and problem solving.
This article by Art Markman, PhD, about how to handle the process of achieving a unified vision that the entire firm will all support worked for me. I learned to be attentive to keep the process on track, and when the consensus was converging as opposed to diverging and why that is important.
With convergence I observed the tendency of groups to stay with what is familiar and to resist change especially when they think it is coming from an outside consultant. If the business owner is part of the process I ask them to listen rather than color the process with their preferences as the group will inevitably seek to please the boss by agreeing with everything they say.
There are two reasons most of us aren’t very good at creative problem solving. First, few people get training in how to be creative in their education. Second, few people understand group dynamics well enough to harness their power to help groups maximize their creativity. More at HBR.