Preparing for rpDiscussion
rpDiscussions create a reliable foundation of understanding and accountability for practicing Relationship Performance™, and should precede the distribution of rpPaq tools. V. 2.2 3-16-12 DMf
1. Distribute "Work's a We Thing" to each participant ... allowing everyone reasonable time to read prior to the scheduled rpDiscussion.
Will everyone read this book? Probably not ... at least not in the beginning. However, some will. And those persons will become contagious advocates for Relationship Performance. As time passes and monthly QR Snapshots™ begin to reveal varied work quality issues, many others will read it, or use its insert, "Elli's Notes," for situational help.
Beyond this, providing each person with this guidance serves as evidence of your commitment to better work in better lives™. Offering this quick, easy-to-read book is a good way to get off to the right start and assure everyone sees that you are serious, committed and enthusiastic. More importantly, sharing this book sets the stage for having an rpDiscussion. There are incredible benefits for everyone that's derived from discussion. Not the least, every person begins to realize that RP isn't the latest fad or short-lived "initiative de jour;" but rather, the new reality of their work.
Generally it is advised that you allow 2-3 weeks as the reading period, but this can vary by culture, assignment conflicts and the audience. (The book is designed for a 9th -10th grade reading level and to be read in 1.5 - 3.5 hours.)
How many persons should be in an rpDiscussion? Generally at least 3 but no more than 20 persons per session to generate optimal exchange, participation and authenticity. We suggest breaking groups larger than 20 into smaller groups.
How about hierarchal and sequencing factors as to RP roll-out and deployment? The ideal is for sessions to be progressively sequenced "top-downward" as a cascade across the organizational hierarchy (or the deployment segment thereof).
Tip: Consider using a "personalized book wrapper" to convey a succinct, engaging message from you. Your rpExperts at General Talent will help you create one that best "speaks for you." Wrappers can be placed on the books before shipment to you. Alternatively, you can use a brief group meeting, one-on-one dialog or compelling attached personal note to create "anticipation" and "intrigue" as a part of your book distribution.
2. Beforehand, thoughtfully consider the purpose, objectives and benefits of the initial rpDiscussion.
The purpose of rpDiscussion is to create an "open and safe" venue for exchanging ideas about practicing Relationship Performance, and how doing so will benefit each person and the organization. Discussions are an excellent means for instruction, engagement, reducing skepticism or cynicism, plus surfacing toxins and concerns so they can be addressed.
Warning: an rpDiscussion should not be a supervisor's or the organization's bully pulpit ... nor should it be modeled as a one-way "training," or stiff, formal "orientation" session.
Additionally, rpDiscussion should never be inserted into another meeting's agenda!
rpDiscussions should be designed and executed as a means for "sharing, collaboration and expression" among equals. (Think: the knight's round table from the legend of King Arthur.) Open, safe discussions are a powerful means for achieving personal and social understanding and engagement (unfortunately, their value often isn't appreciated and applied by many supervisors and leaders, thus true ones are surprisingly rare).
Executed effectively, rpDiscussion is the first visible step of supervisors' and workers' accountability to the practice of Relationship Performance.
Remember: negative emotions should not be allowed to fester silently; but rather, their constructive expression during discussions can be a good thing: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101115161722.htm
3. During the reading interval, encourage and enlist each participating person to be a "topical facilitator" at your rpDiscussion.
About one week after distributing the books, express your enthusiasm about the upcoming rpDiscussion. As you do so, encourage each person to choose one or two topics from the rpDiscussion Guide that they would like to lead and emphasize during the discussion. http://www.rppaq.com/Discussion_Guide.html
Make sure each person clearly understands that they do NOT need to "deliver a presentation" (nor should they do so). Rather, their role will be to guide, support, precipitate and encourage vigorous group conversation and deeper discovery about their chosen topic. They are advised to do this in an "inquisitive manner" that results in better expression and sharing of the respective thoughts and that solicits the concerns or confusion of participants (so as to ultimately generate better collective understanding and personal"ownership").
Generally each topical discussion will be 5-20 minutes in length, depending on the degree of interest, debate and confusion.
A. If someone prefers, allow them to choose a "buddy" from the group to be a co-moderator with them on topics they select together. No more than two people should facilitate a topic.
B. Allow topics to be chosen on a first come, first serve basis. If folks decide to exchange topics beforehand, that's fine.
C. Each person or "buddy set" should have a different topic.
D. The supervisor may, or may not elect to be a topical faciliator. If they so choose to do so, it is advised the supervisor choose from a remaining topic, only after everyone has made their respective selections. If the supervisor participates, they should exercise care to only be a "inquisitive facilitator," and to not exercise authority, but rather lead only by effective, provocative communication, positive influence, clear personal commitment and explicitly expressed personal accountability regarding the practice of RP.
E. The supervisor should be prepared, after discussion of all topics, to provide a brief overview and orientation of each component of the rpPaQ toolset. In doing so, the supervisor should emphasize that rpPaQ, and support thereof, is offered without bias by a neutral, impartial 3rd party, who will be offering equal attention and responsiveness to serve the needs of both workers and the organization, so as to achieve and sustain better work in better lives™.
Designing discussions with distributed accountabilities will dramatically encourage reading, thought and preparation beforehand, and thus proportionately, everyone's engagement and participation. By engaging everyone as moderators, you reinforce a greater degree of both personal and collective "ownership" of Relationship Performance ... and prevent the one-way, bully pulpit dynamics from a leader or supervisor, or allowing "the few to dominate the many."
4. Direct everyone to other instructional resources to enrich their understanding of Relationship Performance and their chosen topics.
In your outreaching, "nudge and enlist" the participation of each person in the group as suggested in prior step three. Encourage each person to use the other Relationship Performance learning resources available to them:
a) rpPaq.com: http://www.rppaq.com/
b) Career Fulcrum Illuminations (found at rpPaq.com): http://whispersandshouts.typepad.com/career_fulcrum_/
c) rpQuick Guide (found at rpPaq.com): http://whispersandshouts.typepad.com/guidance/quick-start-relationship-performance/
d) Direct outreach to speak with an rpExpert (found at rpPaq.com)
e) Share this guiding web page
5. Schedule discussion at the right place and time. Be prepared and equipped for vigorous collaboration.
Ok, perhaps you can't have a roaring fire ... but you can make sure that you choose a neutral, comfortable, quiet setting that's designed to prevent distractions and disruptions. You might want to consider going off-site. We suggest that interruptions, phone and "Crackberry" use are not permitted during the rpDiscussion, unless in an emergency. The time chosen should not be within a period having a backdrop of conflicts and deadlines.
The ambience of the setting should communicate equality and prevent anyone (especially those in authority) from having a dominant or "power position," however subtle it might be.
Be sure to have good lighting, plenty of white board space or flip charts with multi-colored markers, erasers, notepads and pencils/pens in place so that everyone can easily describe their points, list concerns, share and capture ideas.
How long should rpDiscussion be? This largely depends on you, your commitment, prevailing circumstances and improvement strategies. The size of the group creates a difference as well (larger = longer). The optimal approach is to make rpDiscussions on-going, and if so, each periodic session will typically be 30 minutes to 2 hours, with the first normally being at least 1-2 hours. These would perhaps be on a monthly or quarterly basis.
If you are only planning an initial session, our experience reveals that you should allow at least 10-15 minutes per person to facilitate their chosen RP topic, plus 20 to 30 more minutes for additional discussion, tools orientation, etc.
For some leaders and supervisors, the ideal is a more comprehensive 1/2 day session. Providing ample time allows for vigorous discussion, fuller participation, debate, questions and provides plenty of time to discuss QR™ and its related tools.
Tip: If you presently have dysfunctional, cynical or potentially toxic circumstances, we encourage realism, patience, evident organizational accountability to betterment, attentiveness, applied "change leadership" techniques and on-going discussions. Seek the help of your rpExpert as needed. Anticipate concerns, skepticism, misunderstandings, resistance or mistrust, and be prepared to respond accordingly, constructively and effectively.
6. Anticipate, offer and/or produce any materials that may be useful as handouts or aids by using your online "rpSupply Center."
It's predictable that you will benefit by having a few handouts ready for use in your rpDiscussion.
It's suggested that you should at a minimum have the following to aid discussion and understanding:
- QR Snapshots™ with and without assumptions
- Worker's rpCamera
- rpWeaver basic components and process
- Organizational "Yields-to-Relationships" whiteboard graphic
The rpSupply Center is located online with a variety of printable PDFs that can be downloaded: http://whispersandshouts.typepad.com/rpsupply_center/
For any other needs you may have, please reach out to your rpExpert for assistance and guidance.