Joining Dan Neumann today is returning guest, Adam Ulery, a colleague of his at AgileThought.
Adam is a perpetually curious, continuous learner who is always willing to encourage others to try new things (as he very often does himself). As a Senior Agile Coach and multi-family investor, he’s very focused on helping organizations clarify and meet their business outcomes, and loves to help companies become resilient and rediscover their curiosity.
This week, Dan and Adam explore some facilitation tips. Facilitation is an incredibly important skill for many different roles, so in this episode, Dan and Adam explore both basic tips as well as some pro tips. There are many great, key takeaways on how you, as a facilitator, should handle the group, prepare accordingly, use effective tools to gain consensus during meetings, and allow your group to make the most of the meet-up and get where they need to go.
- Types of roles that need solid facilitation skills:
- Scrum master
- Any type of coach (Agile or otherwise)
- Anyone who’s going to be leading meetings, workshops, or training
- What types of events facilitation skills are used for?
- Sprint planning, daily Scrums, sprint reviews, and retrospectives
- Workshops where you’re trying to teach a concept to a group of people
- Release planning or quarterly planning events
- The basics of good facilitation:
- As a facilitator, you should be preparing in advance, getting info radiators up, and understand the goal of the session
- Information radiators should be concise, clear, valuable, seen by everyone, and include the agenda, parking lot, and working agreement
- A good room setup (including big flip charts or large amounts of whiteboards)
- Clarify the roles in the meeting
- Really utilize the parking lot tool to table items without the risk of losing sight of them and be able to continue to discuss the important topics at hand
- Useful facilitator tools/deciding tactics for gaining consensus or attention:
- Roman voting
- Fist of five
- Show of hands for a simple yes or no decision
- Raise your hand, quietly
- Dot voting (to narrow down topics)
- Adam’s Pro facilitation tips:
- Let the group make the decision; the facilitator should remain neutral and not drive the group to make a particular decision
- If you must wear two hats, make it clear when you’re switching from facilitator to group member
- Control your own reactions to not influence your audience
- Actively listen and clarify (even if it seems obvious)
- Work hard to stay out of their way, be self-aware, and allow them to get where they’re going
- Encourage workflow and be the guardrails
- Allow people to be heard but don’t let them take over the conversation
Mentioned in this Episode:
- Roman voting
- Fist of five
- Dot voting
- Eric Landes (LinkedIn)
- Agile Coaches’ Corner episode with Eric Landes
Adam Ulery’s Book Picks
- Ben Franklin: America’s Original Entrepreneur, by Blaine McCormick and Benjamin Franklin
- Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
- Rich Dad’s CASHFLOW Quadrant: Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial Freedom, by Robert Kiyosaki
Like what you heard? Check out our podcast page for more episodes full of interesting discussions, agile insights, and helpful resources.
Intro: [00:03] Welcome to Agile Coaches’ Corner by AgileThought, the podcast for practitioners and leaders seeking advice to refine the way they work and pave the path to better outcomes. Now here’s your host, coach and agile experts. Dan Neumann.
Dan Neumann: [00:20] Welcome to this episode of Agile Coaches Corner Podcast. I want to thank you for listening to us today. Our goal here is to bring you agile topics in an approachable way and if you have a topic you’d like us to discuss or explore in a future episode, email, uh, to us at podcast@AgileThought.com or tweet it to us with the #AgileThoughtPodcast. With me today is Adam Ulery and we’re going to be exploring some facilitation tips. Facilitation is a pretty important skill for a lot of different roles and so we’ll give you some basic tips as well as some pro tips. So thanks for joining today, Adam.
Adam Ulery: [00:58] Thanks Dan. I’m glad to be here.
Dan Neumann: [01:00] What type of roles do you see needing to have solid facilitation skills?
Adam Ulery: [01:05] I think it’s especially useful role and a role like the scrum master and any type of coach, agile coach. Uh, or otherwise it and really anyone who’s going to be leading meetings or working sessions or workshops or even trainings. So anybody who had been a role like that would benefit from having strong facilitation skills.
Dan Neumann: [01:28] And what type of events do you kind of see those facilitation skills really being used for? You mentioned Scrum Masters, so it brings to mind for me events like obviously the sprint planning, the daily scrum, sprint reviews, retrospectives, those, the baked in scrum events. And where else do you see those skills coming in handy?
Adam Ulery: [01:51] Yeah, certainly those events and then uh, workshops where you’re trying to teach a concept to a group of people. I think they’re, they’re really valuable there. Also, other events outside the scrum events, um, say in a scaled environment, a release planning or quarterly planning type of event or really useful there. Um, maybe an event where you’re doing some dependency mapping or story mapping, any of those types of events where you’ve got a large number of people and you have a goal, you’re after an outcome and you want a large number of people who may or may not be on the same page about all of that together to be productive.
Dan Neumann: [02:36] Yeah, definitely. It can really kind of go sideways if you get a lot of people together. If the goal’s not clear, once you’ve got them people are on different pages, um, either a different pages about the goal or different pages about what the outcome of that meeting should be. So how do you, um, how do you help keep those sessions on track? What are some of the basics to good facilitation that you want to cover?
Adam Ulery: [03:00] Yeah, that’s a good question, Dan. I think, uh, most of these are pretty simple and it’s funny because as we talk about them, uh, people might think, well that seems obvious, but as obvious as it seems, they’re foundational, super helpful and not everyone does them. So things like preparing in advance, actually spend time in advance of the event and prepare. So understand what you need for the session to be successful in terms of supplies, room set up, uh, having information radiators in the room and getting in there early to put those up. Uh, understanding what the goal of the session is. Doing all of that in advance to prepare yourself as the facilitator makes a huge difference. And I mentioned a word in there, information radiators that I’m not, I’m assuming people know what that is, but maybe everyone doesn’t. So I’m happy to talk about that because that specifically is a, a tool that I think every facilitator should have in their toolkit.
Dan Neumann: [04:08] Yeah. So let’s, let’s cover information radiators. And so for me, that brings to mind just what are the important pieces of data, of, of agenda, of topics being discussed and how do you make them really obvious to people so that they don’t have to go digging for them. They just kind of, they radiate off the wall. Is that in line with how you are thinking of that?
Adam Ulery: [04:33] Yeah. Information radiators are, they’re literally what they sound like. It’s a way to display information so that everyone can see it and they can get that information whenever they’d like. Uh, they don’t have to ask for it. So an example of an information radiator is a big one of those giant easel post it stickies that you could put on the wall, right? Or writing on a whiteboard with a dry erase marker, something like that that everyone can see who’s in the session and things that are valuable to have up for everyone to see at any given time during your session are the agenda. People really like to know what they’re going to talk about or at least what’s planned for them to step through. And it should be at a pretty high level. You don’t want to put the details that could possibly change because it’s okay for them to change in there. That might confuse people, uh, at a higher level though, what, what you intend to cover. It’s nice for people to know what’s coming. So that would be nice thing to have on an information radiator in the room.
Dan Neumann: [05:40] Definitely. And I think of the, the topic, like what is the topic that you’re there to discuss because I think that’ll help keep guardrails on the conversation. One of the things you’d mentioned is the parking lot, so having a parking lot for things. And so if you have the goal and you have a parking lot, then you can help let people know that they’ve been heard and help keep the conversation on track without them feeling ignored.
Adam Ulery: [06:05] Yeah, and the parking lot is I think one of the most useful skills and or tools, however you want to think of that. Um, but also I like having that on a big easel post-it on the wall or on a whiteboard somewhere. Uh, and it’s, it’s a very useful way to keep things on track. We can talk more about it, uh, in a few minutes maybe. Um, but yeah, those are, I think are the kind of a couple of big ones. And another one is a working agreement or a teaming agreement about the meeting. So it’s nice to take just a couple minutes at the very beginning of the meeting and set some ground rules for the meeting and to write those up somewhere where we could refer to them during the meeting and sort of check ourselves and point to that if we’re having an issue or if you know, it feels like we’re going off track in some way or we’re deviating from what we agreed to, we have it there visible for everyone to see and we could point back to that instead of pointing at someone. Our attention is directed to the rule we all agreed to rather than a person which helps keep that environment safe and those creative ideas free flowing.
Dan Neumann: [07:26] And you have the opportunity then to be proactive on those. So frequent things that I see disrupting meetings is people tuning out into their smartphones or into their emails. So you can have a conversation about what do we do about electronics, who’s on call, maybe somebody who legitimately needs to be tuned out versus active disengagement where they’re just moving on. And so yet those things that are working agreements, the other one that comes to mind is a lot of times there are, there are interrupters people who will interrupt other people’s thoughts before they’re done. And so how do you, you don’t want to say, hey, you know, so and so stop it like every time, but you can have the working agreement. And I think that’s what you were referring to. Our agreement set out at the start is we let people finish. We don’t interrupt. We hear them out, those types of thing.
Adam Ulery: [08:18] Right. I mean it feels more comfortable, particularly for the person, but especially for the whole group, for a facilitator to be able to say when someone is interrupting: So what did we agree to about interrupting and how we would collaborate during the session versus: Dan, I’ve noticed that you’re interrupting again.
Dan Neumann: [08:43] Definitely. That’s a good one. Yeah. And especially there are some people speak with a cadence and you know, you, you called on me, which is, you know, he called me out. I feel bad. But uh, some people take long gaps in the sentences. And I know at times I will hop in thinking they’re done, not to cut them off, but just not realizing that they aren’t done yet because of a, a slower cadence. And so for me that’s, that’s a conscious effort sometimes not to hop in with the next thought. And so, uh, having those types of working agreements is super valuable.
Adam Ulery: [09:13] Yeah. Yeah, I agree. It’s a very useful tool.
Dan Neumann: [09:16] You mentioned room set up almost in passing and I wanted to just mention that are circled back to it because the, the physical setup of the room says a lot about what’s expected to happen. If you have a room with a large kind of board room style table where there’s a head in a, you know, the other end or you know, do you have whiteboards available is the furniture rearrangeable though that room set up can have a huge impact on the flow of the meeting and people’s ability to participate.
Adam Ulery: [09:49] Yeah, it really can. And if you’re doing your prep work in advance, you’ll be able to compensate for some situations that may not be ideal, you know, versus walking in and realizing at that moment, oh no, this is not right at all. I need a lot of whiteboard space for this session. And we’ve got none. Right? But if you did some prep work, you could figure out some ways to make that happen. You know, maybe bring in some rolling whiteboards or whatever.
Dan Neumann: [10:17] The rolling whiteboards. Yeah. You mentioned the post-it a big flip charts and you know, I don’t mind saying post-it brand cause I’ve used off brands and the things don’t stick. You know, it’s like it sounds good, they’re cheaper but they don’t stick. So love the post-it brand. Yeah. So you can compensate with the room set up. So if you’ve got the room set up your agenda, a parking lot, you have the appropriate supplies, you know, you’ve made sure that the white board markers actually write instead of, you know, pulling up three of them and realizing they’re all dry. What are some of the other common tools that you use?
Adam Ulery: [10:52] Well, one is to clarify the roles in the meeting. I like to know who, who’s there, uh, what, what they plan to do for, you know, what their role in the meeting will be, how they’ll participate. Uh, and that’s very helpful for everyone to understand so that we can kind of maintain balance in the meeting and, and this, this is pretty closely related. I feel like it’s pretty closely related to keeping the audience focused on their goal, which you mentioned earlier, you know, having the goal of the meeting displayed on a radiator. I really love that. Um, but knowing who the players are and what their goal is, really helps you as a facilitator to help them achieve their goal. Keep them moving and understand who should be playing in what space, if you will.
Dan Neumann: [11:46] In addition to knowing who’s in what space, it also can help identify is there a role missing? So if you are facilitating and trying to get to a conclusion but you don’t have the decider in the room or if you risk being vetoed as soon as you walk out of the room. I see knowing that about the roles as being a huge advantage as well. So identifying a missing role.
Adam Ulery: [12:10] Agreed. Yeah, I agree. Um, and at least then the people present can decide what they want to do about that. You know about it. It’s not something that sort of just happens to the group, which can detract from their productivity. Right.
Dan Neumann: [12:30] Absolutely. Do you continue knowing that there’s a chance you get veto? Do you go get that person do you take them some options that they’ll then get to choose from being really intentional about how to go about that missing role?
Adam Ulery: [12:46] Right. Another thing we mentioned Dan, a couple of times that’s worth diving into a little more as the parking lot. I think that is a super important tool for a facilitator. It’s, it’s probably one of your biggest levers in a meeting to keep those people who would take you off track and check. It’s a super useful way to table items without the risk of losing it. A lot of times people who won’t let go of something and will take an entire meeting off track they’re afraid their idea won’t be heard and it will be lost. This gives them that reassurance because a parking lot is a place where you can put items that are out of scope for the current conversation but you don’t want to lose sight of. After the meeting you can decide what you want to do with this list of items. So if that starts happening within the meeting and someone starts to take you off track, as a facilitator you can make the call on how long you want to let that go and when it feels like, okay, this is taking up too much time and it’s starting to take us away from our goal for the meeting. You can politely interject and ask the group if this is something we’d like to put on the parking lot. I like to put it back on them and allow them to make the decision. Because if you allow the group that’s there to accomplish something, to make the decision and they own it, they’re going to feel so much better about it and they’ve had the option and then at that point if they do decide to continue to run with it, it’s their choice. They’ve made the choice and that’s okay.
Dan Neumann: [14:25] I’ve been in a session to where it felt like somebody was taking us off track and when taken it to the group, they were like, no, like the thing they are bringing up is the show stopper for the goal that we stated. And so as a facilitator, I wanted to stick with the goal that we had, but the group then correctly pointed out, no, this thing that’s coming up is way more important or is a precondition to achieving that other goal. So it needs to be vetted now. It can’t go on the parking lot. And so that becomes a very valuable digression into another topic. And so maintaining that flexibility as a facilitator is a big deal.
Adam Ulery: [15:04] Yeah, it really is. And this, this golden tool, the parking lot helps us with that so much. You know, we can, we can use it as a way to say, is this something we should put on the parking lot? And then they won’t lose sight of it. They’ll feel comfortable. We can move on. So many times I’ve had someone who really didn’t want to let go of it, agree effortlessly to put it on the parking lot. As soon as they realized, oh, it’s not going to get lost, and then we can move on.
Dan Neumann: [15:37] I’ve been heard and we’ll come back to it if we have time or maybe it’s part of the scheduled agenda for later. Or maybe that’s a separate meeting afterwards. But either way it’s like, Yep, you feel validated.
Adam Ulery: [15:49] Right. Exactly.
Dan Neumann: [16:03] So what are some deciding tactics? If we’ve, we’ve got our goal and we’re working through, there are different tests for agreement that can be used and I know you had a few you wanted to touch on. So things like Roman voting come to mind for me, you know, do we continue on a topic or do we, you know, thumbs up, thumbs down.
Adam Ulery: [16:23] Right, yeah. There’s a handful of those little whatever you call them, facilitator tools or you know what, what you said there Dan, that I really like and that, that’s a great one. Um, there’s one called a fist of five, which I think a really nice way to get really quick consensus from a large group. And what you do is you hold up your hand as a fist and you have everyone vote on something. So Dan, do we agree that this is a good idea in a direction we should move forward? Uh, if you hold up a one, I know that you think it’s an absolutely horrible idea. You’re really opposed to it. If you hold up a five, you are completely on board with it and everything in the middle is some degree towards one or the other. One, two, three vote. Everyone holds up their number of fingers and now we’ve got a really quick clear picture of how the whole group thinks and we can decide what to do with that. That’s called fist to five.
Dan Neumann: [17:27] Definitely. In the ones when we do a fist to five that I tends to pull on the most are those the ones and the twos, like why it’s okay not to support it, but what’s the concern behind the lack of support and is it something we can address? So those become really interesting data points.
Adam Ulery: [17:47] Yeah. And powerful tools. If you’re trying to gain consensus, if that’s one of the goals in your meeting, uh, for example, maybe you’re trying to set a, an OKR or a goal or something that the whole group really needs to get behind. It’s a great way to get to that. You know, you can decide where you are and if you’ve got some one’s, you know, you’re not there yet, helps you get there quickly because they can voice why they voted the one and now the group can collaborate and start to get closer to the five.
Dan Neumann: [18:20] You touched on something really interesting there, which is are we trying to get to consensus and something facilitators can really benefit from is clarifying how we decide before it’s time to decide. So what I mean by that is do we need a consensus? Is that what we’re going for? Are we going for majority rule where we don’t need a consensus but we’re going to go with the majority? Are we advising somebody else outside and trying to put together those options. So clarifying how we’re going to decide before we get to the point where we need to decide something is something I’ve seen be very valuable for facilitators.
Adam Ulery: [19:00] It’s great. And that could even be something that goes in the meeting agreement at the beginning.
Dan Neumann: [19:05] Right. And then some decisions will be um, you know, one way versus the other. You know, restroom breaks. Like, if you need one take one, we don’t need to have a consensus on whether you know people are going to get up and go use the facilities. We don’t all have to agree on what’s going to be brought in for lunch. Maybe you have several different options.
Adam Ulery: [19:23] Right. Another basic one Dan, that I think I learned in kindergarten is the show of hands. It’s simple, but it’s a really good tool as a facilitator if we just need a a yes, no, kind of an understanding about what the group thinks. Show of hands for who, who agrees with that? You know, and I use this all the time for what you just mentioned, right? Show of hands, uh, we’d like to take a five minute bio break and then if the majority of the hands, if several, you know, enough hands go up, it’s like, yeah, let’s take one. These people need it.
Dan Neumann: [19:58] Definitely. Definitely. Definitely. When doing a workshop, a lot of times there’s, there’s a breakout and it’s loud and ruckus and I’ve seen facilitators try and kind of, hey, come back, come back. You know, and, and it, it’s really awkward when you’re trying to shout down a room of very active people, right. So there’s a, there’s a better way of doing that that, uh, I think you could share with us.
Adam Ulery: [20:24] Yeah. Dan, this is one of my favorites actually. Uh, I think because I learned it in preschool.
Dan Neumann: [20:34] Your education was far more valuable than mine.
Adam Ulery: [20:37] No, this is just an awesome tool because of its simplicity and its power. How well it works is amazing. It’s, I don’t know what official name of it is. I kind of call it the raise hand quiet. So what you do in that situation where you’ve got a, a large crowd that’s very excited and noisy and talking is you’ve raised your hand. I usually just stand tall in the middle of the room where the most people can see me and raise my right hand as high as I can. And you explain to everyone in the beginning of how this works. So they know when, when you see someone standing there with their hand raised really high, not saying anything, mimic that, stop what you’re doing. Stop talking and raise your hand high. And it is amazing. I’ve, I’ve had groups of almost a hundred in a loud, really excited environment and you can get them quiet in less than 10 seconds doing this.
Dan Neumann: [21:43] It’s amazing to see that work. And I think it’s been done even at the big agile conference where the the person doing kind of a keynote style address had a break out and you watch the hush fall across a thousand people almost instantly because it’s such a familiar approach in a lot of circles, but it was, it’s always new to somebody. And so that’s a very important tip to share.
Adam Ulery: [22:06] Yeah, I think so. And it is, it’s cool to see. I love that one.
Dan Neumann: [22:10] So when you’ve got a lot of different options identified, let’s say we’ve brainstormed some things, we’ve got a bunch of sticky notes on the wall and we need to select from a bunch of those
Adam Ulery: [22:19] Dan. Dot.Voting is a really nice tool for this. So dot.Voting is where you give each person a certain number of votes and they can use them any way they like. A pretty standard way to do it is to give each person three votes that that almost always works out really well for some reason. I’m not sure the math behind why three works so well, but I’ve just found it does and each person can use them any way they like. So they could put all three on one of the items if they really, really want to see that one get voted up, they can split it across and put, you know, one on each of three items, et cetera. So you can do this using little sticker dots like stickies or you can use markers like a sharpie or if you’re doing it on a whiteboard, you could use a dry erase some way to make a vote. And then you simply take the item with the most number of votes. And that’s kind of the most desired item. And the one with the least number is the least. Um, I, I used it this week actually. I was with a large group for the Tampa Bay Scrum Masters Guild. Actually. We used it and we had 13 topics. We wanted to distill down to 9. We dot voted and we took the nine topics with the most votes. It worked beautifully.
Dan Neumann: [23:41] It’s a nice way to feel like you don’t have to go through the entire list. You’ve then taken the energy of the room. You’ve figured out generally where it lies and you can address the majority of the interest without feeling like you need to talk about everything. That’s great.
Adam Ulery: [23:59] Yeah. I use this with my family. We vote on activities, vacations, things we’d like to do.
Dan Neumann: [24:06] That’s awesome. Yes. Not just confined to the project team.
Adam Ulery: [24:10] Right, exactly.
Dan Neumann: [24:12] Fantastic. And we’ve mentioned a bunch of different tips and persona. It was probably a good opportunity to mention that we will have show notes available. We’ll link out to different resources and folks can find that on agilethought.com/podcast. So we’ve talked about a bunch of kind of basic facilitation tips. Then we get into things that are maybe more nuanced or maybe more pro tips here. And so one of them is, you know, letting the group make the decision. And I want you to go into that because what I’ve seen kind of an anti pattern is where the facilitator, and I use my little air quotes facilitator is really somebody just with an agenda, uh, meaning they want something very specific to be the outcome of that meeting and it can get, um, it feels really disingenuous when somebody is up there quote, facilitating but driving you to the conclusion they want. So what, what, how does it look to put the decision onto the people who are in the meeting?
Adam Ulery: [25:12] It’s really important for the facilitator to main maintain neutrality, to not be the one making decisions in the meeting. And I, I like to understand the roles as we said earlier. Um, so I can always be ensuring that people own their roles and they’re you know, for example, let’s say we have some discussion where a business owner needs to make a decision. If that person’s in the room, I will work to make sure that they’re doing that. Or maybe we need a more technical decision, you know, if the architects in the room, I will be working with them to make sure they’re owning that. Always putting the decisions back on them, making sure that I’m not doing that. Uh, and it, it’s really important to do this. And if you must wear two hats and let’s say that you are facilitating the meeting, but you also have to participate, I recommend making it really clear when you’re switching. I literally will say I’m wearing two hats in this meeting. I’m facilitating and that’s my primary role. But I’m also the agile coach. So if I need to talk agile coach, I will, I will physically make it look like I’m taking off a hat. And I will be saying, I’m taking off my facilitator hat right now, I’m putting it on my agile hat. And then I’ll say what I need to say. And then I’ll say, okay, my agile coach hat is coming off my facilitator hat back on. And it sounds kind of goofy, but it helps everyone understand exactly what role I’m playing and I don’t fall into the trap of stepping outside of my boundaries as the facilitator.
Dan Neumann: [27:02] I had the opportunity to do a professional scrum foundations training with Eric Landes, who’s our certified trainer. And we actually had a hat that we wore because we were supposed to play the role of customer at one point. And at times the customer is being difficult, but you don’t want to as the trainer or facilitator be difficult or give bad information. So we actually had a baseball cap that, when we were in the persona of product owner would put on. Um, it was a really nice, um, addition to the, the mimicry of the movement was to actually have a baseball hat. Because I’m follicly challenged, I always have one with me to keep the sun off my head. Uh, and so it was, it was really surprisingly powerful to have that physical cue that there’s this role or that role. Yeah, you could even find a physical cue to go with the, the, the mimicry or the miming pantomiming of the role.
Adam Ulery: [28:00] Yeah, that’s great. I really like that. And um, another thing that kind of ties in closely to this is controlling your own reactions. It’s actually easier for you as a facilitator if you don’t really understand the subject. Honestly, it may sound counter intuitive, but that helps you maintain that neutrality easier if you don’t really understand it. Because you can kind of use your ignorance to your advantage. But if you do and you happen to be passionate about it, you may find yourself giving up how you feel when seen or your facial reaction in some way and, and that can really influence an audience and you don’t, you don’t want to do that. You want to maintain neutrality as much as possible to help the audience come up with their best outcomes possible. So it’s important for a really good facilitators to control the reactions.
Dan Neumann: [28:58] I find that you don’t necessarily know where something’s going. You might hear something and you think, Ooh, what a terrible idea. And then later realize that, oh wait, I assumed because of whatever frame that they were going this place and they’re actually going somewhere else. And it turns out to be, uh, perhaps a different destination than it sounded like. And so you’re right, that maintaining neutrality and expression as well, is probably just as importantly in thought, you know, try not to prejudge or think you know, where somebody’s going and withhold that evaluation and then go for it.
Adam Ulery: [29:38] Yeah, I agree. Another pro tip is to actively listen and, and clarify. So I like to, um, I like to clarify things I hear, even if it may seem obvious, make it explicit and that helps the, the team really think about where they’re going and what they’re discussing.
Dan Neumann: [30:05] In addition to kind of listening and clarifying, taking an opportunity to write down the thing that you, you thought you’ve heard. If it’s a, if it’s a proposed path forward or the phrasing or a decision, you know, writing it down so that it’s visible. We talked about the information radiators and then having people fix it. Like there’s a good chance that what you thought was being decided maybe isn’t quite correct. And so then you give people a chance to play a game of fix it with your words.
Adam Ulery: [30:36] It’s a great technique to help them really clarify what it is they want out of that session.
Dan Neumann: [30:44] It’s pretty cool. So looking at our time box here, I’m wondering what, are there one or two more final tips for folks that come to mind for you?
Adam Ulery: [30:55] Uh, yeah. I think working hard to stay out of their way. Encouraging flow is a another tip. So just be self aware. Work really hard to stay out of their way. Allow them to get where they’re going and, and do things to kind of encourage them to work in that flow state where they’re really good. You know, they’re, they’re really getting a lot done. They’re really being productive and um, and, and then be the guardrails. So if you see them starting to work their way off track, don’t tell them, but ask them if they’re headed off track. Remind them of the goal and allow them to decide if where they’re going is where they should be going or if you know they’re headed off track. And that’s one of those we touched on earlier I think. But it’s really important to let them be the ones that they know they’re the ones who set the goal to begin with and they know what they need to for this meeting to be productive. And that’s really what you’re trying to do here is help them have as productive a session as possible.
Dan Neumann: [32:09] I think of questions like how does this relate back to the goal? So you’d uh, you’d mentioned kind of embracing maybe your ignorance who inexperience. So asking the question, hey, how does this relate back to the goal? And there’s a good chance that they’ll tell you, oh it’s, it’s this. Or they go, oh, you know, it really doesn’t, let’s pull back and refocus back on to that goal. And so just a simple question as opposed to saying, oh, you’re off track.
Adam Ulery: [32:34] Right, exactly.
Dan Neumann: [32:35] Cause they, they really might not be. So that is a nice exploration of facilitation tips I mentioned. We’ll put those up on the show notes. Are you reading anything interesting these days. I think the last time you shared the experimental mindset, you had a couple of different books, maybe Age of Agile and something on property investing you were reading. How’s your, uh, how’s your reading and continuous learning journey going these days?
Adam Ulery: [33:01] Yeah. Thanks for asking Dan. I, uh, I just finished Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography. Amazing. Especially if you’re an entrepreneur or an investor like myself. That book is awesome because he’s kind of like the original entrepreneur. Amazing loved it.
Dan Neumann: [33:24] Now, is it a specific autobiography? I’m imagining Ben Franklin maybe has many of the many, well you said autobiography. I don’t know if he wrote multiple autobiographies.
Adam Ulery: [33:33] Well, yeah, we can put it in the show notes, Dan, because there are multiple, and this one is a bit of a kind of a sliced version. So they took a subsection of his entire, fairly lengthy one, uh, and then just put some context around it for entrepreneurs and investors and we’ll put it in the show notes so people could check it out if they’re interested.
Dan Neumann: [33:57] That’s awesome. I read, I believe it was some autobiographical works of his and just, boy, if you want to feel like you’ve wasted your life, just let me go check that autobiography out. And the stuff that he was involved in.
Adam Ulery: [34:13] Read it while you’re young.
Dan Neumann: [34:14] Yeah, I might have to, uh, and the things he did while he was still young. Yeah. I’ll have to check out that particular one. Um, and yet Ben Franklin always, always good to learn from.
Adam Ulery: [34:24] He’s awesome. And then I’m reading, “Thinking Fast and Slow,” and that’s, that’s really interesting. So that’s what I’m working through right now, “Thinking Fast and Slow.”
Dan Neumann: [34:36] Any particular insights from “Thinking Fast and Slow?”
Adam Ulery: [34:39] I’m still pretty. Um, I’m still pretty early into the book, but it’s, it’s super fascinating when he’s talking about how you can measure physical signs of your brain working really hard to process things and how as humans, it’s built in us to be lazy, not in a bad way, but you know, to, to find the, the least amount of effort that you need to expend to get something done.
Dan Neumann: [35:12] Yes, yes. Well, and it’s, it’s impossible to explicitly process all the information coming into you. And so yeah, there’s some things that become hardwired types of responses or at least pretty firmly wired responses. And then there’s slower thinking, so, right. It’s a fantastic, fantastic topic to explore how the brain thinks.
Adam Ulery: [35:31] And then the last one is, uh, the “Cashflow Quadrant” by Robert Kiyosaki.
Dan Neumann: [35:36] Ooh. Yeah. I have no idea what that’s about.
Adam Ulery: [35:38] That’s good stuff. We can put it in the show notes.
Dan Neumann: [35:41] Okay. We’ll do that. So we’ve gotten an investing and we’ve got one about thinking and one about Benjamin Franklin. All right, well, thanks for sharing on facilitation tips as well as your, uh, your continuous learning journey there. Adam.
Adam Ulery: [35:54] Thanks for having me on, Dan. I really appreciate it. Take care.
Outro: [35:59] This has been the agile coaches corner podcast brought to you by AgileThought, get the show notes and other helpful tips from this episode and other episodes at agilethought.com/podcast.