The planning for the community building session is almost complete. The last details are how to conduct the plenary sessions for sharing information across groups to develop key priorities and themes that will need to be addressed.
There are two sessions that need to be planned. One is to review the work done by intact work teams. In this larger session, the goal is to spot patterns and identify themes that can be used to plan actions. These patterns or themes will come from the stop–continue–start charts developed by each functional group. In this way, not only will the changes that need to happen be identified, but aspects of effective work (those things that work well and should be continued) can also be reinforced.
The external consulting team strongly recommended a “cross-functional, by-level grouping” for the first step. Their aim is to promote understanding of priorities and show how different issues at different levels of the organization can be aligned. The internal consulting team is excited about being the primary facilitators for these sessions. Everyone recognizes that a structured approach will be critical (for timing and to control decision–making inputs). The approach called Nominal Group Technique (NGT) seems to be ideally suited to this task.
You want to prepare yourself for conducting the session. Use the library, Internet, or other resources to research NGT. Because each grouping will be of a differing size, you want to tailor the overall steps of NGT to the situation you will facilitate. To do this, you must create a meeting session plan (a document of 4–5 pages) that will answer the following questions:
What is the goal of the session?
How will the nominal group technique be used to achieve this goal?
How will the members of the team work together (guidelines for effective participation)?
What specific steps and tasks will be involved in achieving the goal?
How much time will be allocated to each step or task? What voting mechanism is most appropriate for the size of the group and the specific stage of the process?
What will the outcome look like? What will the group present to the other levels?