From Itana meeting on June 12, 2020

Getting to Common Understanding and Goals

What Makes this Difficult?

Lots of opinions, perspectives, lack of shared language or common understanding


Why is it important


Developed shared language about the importance of specific skills and competencies 

Not only those skills that you should have but those you should not keep

Korn-Ferry Competencies / Leadership Architecture Program 

Emotional Intelligence (instills trust, courage, interpersonal savvy)

Self-awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship management

Ability to manage complexity, action oriented, drive results, collaborates

Refocusing the conversation back to the topic at hand

It’s easy to get off topic or “follow the rabbit”

Acknowledge the great thinking and then ask the question “does this align with X”

Active Listening

Shows your investment in the other and allows for understanding

Best Practice

Why is important


Creating or leveraging a shared language / framework

Gets everyone on the same page and reduces confusion

Korn-Ferry Competencies / Leadership Architecture Program 

What does term “X” mean in this room

Reduce confusion or false agreement

“As evidenced by…” creating examples as a group to illustrate

Setting the stage for the conversation

See example above.  “As evidenced by….”

Create a clear outcome

Agreement on terms requires higher level agreement first

Agree that everyone wants a common definition first

Setting Direction (or driving change) from a non-leadership position

What Makes this Difficult?

No implicit consent from the hierarchy limits ability to influence and therefore lead. There are few resources to leverage or utilize. Susceptible to bias within the organization.


Why is it important



Need to convince people to adopt the direction.

Quality presentations.


Develop public speaking. Has logic and order and which supports the argument

Quality presentations.


Builds consensus and provides transparency.  Build multiple viewpoints into a recommendation

Strategic thinking exercise. Brainstorming exercises.

Meeting Planning

Develop a goal for the session

Well structured agenda with outcomes (learning outcome, relationship building)

Consensus Building

Senior leaders appreciate when there is consensus to work with.

Best Practice

Why is important


Cross departmental proposal development

Helps the organization be less reactionary

Leveraging each department upon their strengths without duplication

Being open to outcomes and attempt to be neutral actor

The university benefits

Adoption of a single CRM 

Consistency and persistency

Respect is often earned by demonstrating a commitment to the domain in regard to steady investment in a domain. 

Stay engaged in a topic area through relationships even if not actively engaged in specific work year over year.

Working the hierarchy both vertically and horizontally

It is important to break down departmental silos in order to optimize opportunities and essential to validate that those outcomes are in alignment with the hierarchy.

Validate that the engagements you will have are worthwhile to senior leaders and report back results and outcomes of those engagements.

Creating impactful artifacts

What Makes this Difficult?

  • Understanding the audience (which could involve multiple audiences), and presenting the information from their perspective.
  • The right level of details that are relevant for the audience.
  • Don’t understand the problem, issue at hand.
  • Not listening well.
  • Lack of knowledge.
  • Information to create an artifact isn’t always at hand - Situation on the ground changes faster than you can update/refine/socialize the artifact, something changes w/o you knowing, sometimes the source of truth is hard to find.


Why is it important


Communication Skills

Be able to clearly, concisely, precisely communicate the item at hand.

Drawing, leveraging visual tools

Some drawing tools don’t lend themselves for quick drawing

Comfort of drawing in front of people during brainstorming to capture info efficiently. 

Brainstorming, diagraming, sketching.  Often quicker than formal tool, but important to capture info.

Empathy (understanding audience’s perspective/concerns)

What does the audience expect. Understanding your audience is crucial to creating something that resonates

Technical manager and staff may need technical detail, whereas executive leadership may not.

Able to abstract to the proper level of detail

To avoid too much or too little details in any artifact

A diagram to show what type of technology components are involved in a solution may not need all of the technology instances included.

Best Practice

Why is important


Consistent/standard graphics (perhaps standard templates)

To avoid confusion for those who consume multiple artifact

A box represents a …

A circle represents a … works for text as well, standard sections.  

Proactive input/ask for feedback

To refine/improve artifact based on what audience wants to see

What is the person who is asking for the artifact expecting, what will they use it for?

Avoid creating an artifact that isn’t fit to purpose, to much work or not what the customer was expecting

Boss might use similar language when they want a well researched and thought out paper, but could also mean a quick paragraph or links for additional info. 

Less can be more, including using plain language

Too much content, written with overly complex language, can distract from the main message

Getting high-quality results from a brainstorming/ideation meeting

What Makes this Difficult?


Why is it important


Best Practice

Why is important


Activity Instructions

We will have four break-out rooms.  There are four topics - one per breakout room.  These are:

  • Breakout Room 1:  Getting to common understanding and goals
  • Breakout Room 2:  Setting direction (or driving change) from a non-leadership position
  • Breakout Room 3:  Creating impactful artifacts
  • Breakout Room 4:  Getting high-quality results from a brainstorming/ideation meeting

You will have about 25- 30 minutes in your breakout room to do the following work.  

Be conscious of the time.  

Be inclusive to hear all voices.  

Remember, “Yes, and” feedback (build on each other’s ideas) not “No, but” feedback.  

In your breakout room, you will discuss and capture the following content for their topic:

  • Who will report out to the larger group (put a name down)
  • A short answer as to what makes this difficult to do well (keep it a quick)
  • 3 or so Skills you think are important to doing this well 
  • 3 or so Tools and Techniques that are useful in doing this well
  • For each Skill and Tool, list why they're useful and possibly give an example

 After you return from the breakout rooms, someone from your room will report out your findings.