Whether your staff or board is on autopilot, or whether you are just stuck in a rut when it comes to coming up with an effective and creative way to address an opportunity, challenge or niggling problem, here are a few approaches you could try at your next staff meeting or board retreat:

  1. Put On a Different Thinking Cap: Literally. Everybody has their preferred way of looking at the world…and it can be helpful to shake things up. Edward de Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats is a great exercise designed to get people to look at issues from different perspectives. Basically, you have six hats, each representing a different way of thinking ranging from creative, critical and logistical to intuitive and process-based. The group tries to tackle the issue at hand while wearing each ‘hat.’ You may be surprised at what comes out of this process

  2. Go to the Dark Side: What would make your association, your idea, your program, your whatever – fail? Sometimes looking first at what would not succeed can be an effective way to get people looking in a new way about what can. Make a list of what could cause failure and why. Next, start thinking about how these factors can be mitigated, avoided or possibly turned into a success

  3. Switch up Your Routine: Stepping out of the ‘norm’ can be a great way to get the juices flowing. Think about changing up the venue of your meeting. Go outside. Get someone else to facilitate or lead the meeting. Try a different time of day, or maybe a different meeting format. Start with a fun, interactive meal or activity. Whatever works – challenging the senses by doing things in a different way gets the brain ready to think about things in new and creative ways

Change the Subject: If you and your team are talking in circles with no end in sight, switch the conversation to something else for a few minutes. It can be loosely related…or not. Then come back to the issue at hand and you may find new connections and ways of looking at things that weren’t apparent before

What other approaches do you use to get your association staff or board to think outside of the box?

Does your association need help developing a plan? The Portage Group team can help. Contact us here.



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