I just finished facilitating six marathon days with a phenomenal group of people. There were five different companies at the table and the group size varied between 16 and 30 people, based on the activities. The goal was extremely ambitious. The conversations could have gone sideways fast with such a diverse group with priorities that are not always aligned.
Not only did we succeed, but we also did it in such a collaborative atmosphere that we forged great bonds and friendships. Here are some of the elements that we used to get to success:
Clear goals, what are we trying to accomplish. Say it early, say it often, and compare progress against the goals after each day.
A direct and complete articulation of the challenge, no sugar coating. In this case, we had 39 individual items to review over approximately 44 work hours.
A shared understanding of the approach to be used, explain and use an easy item to go through the method and make sure everyone understands it.
Clear protocol of interaction: create a safe space for disagreement, focus on the issues and enable everyone to help everyone else adhere to the protocol.
What are your secrets to make large groups work together?