Entries by Gillian

What Were Your Bad Habits: GTD Video Link

At the recent GTD Summit I attended, David Spark interviewed a number of people asking them about the bad habits that GTD (Getting Things Done) helped them kick. The video is just over 5 minutes, and linked here: GTD Summit – What Were Your Bad Habits? I was happy to be one of the interviewees, […]


Facilitators Demo Day: Learning from Good Practice

When do you get the opportunity to watch and participate in the work of 10 different facilitators in one day? We did yesterday by hosting a Facilitators’ Demonstration and Learning Day (see previous blog post: Facilitators Demonstration Day – Bringing Together Supply and Demand). We had professional facilitators coming from the Geneva area, neighbouring France, […]

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What’s New for HeatSeekers? Using Twitter in Meetings

If you look up “Heatseeker” in Wikipedia, you get redirected immediately to “Missile Guidance”, and a long explanation of how these kinds of missiles work to find their targets. However, the top link of this entry is another redirection to Billboard weekly album chart’s Top Heatseekers which refers to a selected list of new and […]


Gold Nuggets from the GTD Summit

The last panel I went to at the GTD Summit in San Francisco was called “Best Practices to Good Habits: Can I Make GTD Stick?” The panelists were GTD coaches and very experienced practitioners. As can be expected the discussion produced some gold nuggets in the form of tips to making GTD a habit. A […]


Blackbelts in the Game of Life

I spoke on two panels yesterday where I gave presentations on using GTD in our workplace, and what we are learning about that integration process. One was on the challenges and opportunities for the NGO sector of using GTD. The other was on using informal learning approaches (rather than formal training approaches) to help people […]

The Getting Things Done Summit: Learning from a Reception?

The Getting Things Done Summit: Changing the Way the World Works, is being held this week in San Francisco. I am here to speak on two panels – one on “Good Things Getting Done: GTD Serving Service” and the second on “GTD and Education”. Both are today and I have just put the finishing touches […]

The Leadership Quality Called Courage

In times of extreme change, be they ecological or financial, leadership is a focus of deep discussion and heightened observation, and the source ultimately of trust in decisions and hope in the future. Courage is widely accepted as one important leadership quality. Let’s say that courage is a good thing, we want to see even […]


Opening Space for Conversation (and Eating Croissants)

I wonder if Harrison Owen knew, back in 1989 when Open Space Technology “escaped” (as its put in the Open Space history), that it would become a facilitator’s favorite? Not only because it helps groups identify the most meaningful topics at the moment (rather than speculating on that weeks in advance without the main beneficiaries […]

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Putting the People Back in Paperwork

“Oh, Paperwork!” was the answer my new colleague Barbara gave at our weekly team meeting to the following question: “When you think of performance assessments what comes to mind?” However, for the last 2 years our team has decided to make performance assessments all about team learning. And in doing so, we have used them […]

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Our World Café: Kitchen Table Conversations for Change

This morning our Director General invited the headquarters staff for a World Café on our institution’s Organizational Development and Change process. Fifty-four of us met in the cafeteria to participate in the process. Here are some of our “hot” reflections on the event. World Café is an innovative way to think collectively about an issue, […]


Open for Business: Thinking about Productivity

In his Zero-In box video, Merlin Mann likens knowledge work to working in a diner. You take orders and you make sandwiches. However, what can happen for many reasons – like many meetings and not enough time to process the results, or not having a good overview of your inventory of obligations – is that […]

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Ideas Free to a Good Home

I have spent hours in the last few weeks trawling through handwritten notes in my In-box diligently taking out the ideas, potential next actions, and possible “to dos” in there. Apparently I am my most prolific at ideas generation when I am sitting in meetings or presentations (shouldn’t I be listening?) Then I end up […]

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What Did You Say? Building a Group’s Capacity to Deal with its Own Issues

During this week’s workshop (see previous post) we have been acting as Developmental Facilitators, that is facilitators who have as one of their main goals building the group’s capacity to deal with its own issues. As such, the interventions made are aimed at helping the group deal with task and maintenance (group dynamic) issues. These […]


H.T.H.A F. M.

Appreciative Inquiry must be powerful, it even got veteran facilitator Chuck Philips of Sapience, to change his frame – or maybe it was my complaining about the title of his brainstorming session last year: How to Have a Terrible Meeting (a.k.a. H.T.H.A.T.M. – see my blog post on this at:https://brightgreenlearning.com/2007/12/how-to-have-terrible-meeting.html This year, for our Beyond […]


Lizzie and Gillian, C.P.F

Monday was an exhausting day. By the end of it we (and four other candidates) had each undergone two intensive 30-minute interviews, conducted a 30-minute facilitation demonstration (that had to achieve concrete results within that brief time frame), and participated actively in 5 other such demonstration workshops. By the end of that very long day, […]

You’re Being Watched…

Here’s an observation about human beings speaking in workshop settings: Some people will walk up to the front of the room and quite happily chat away to the group. Other people, however, will walk up to the front of the room, start to talk, and immediately lock their eyes on you, the Facilitator, and only […]

What’s In a Facilitator’s Survival Kit?

I have several other blog posts that are queued up, but as I left the office yesterday to come to Zurich to facilitate a 2 day stakeholder dialogue, I noticed the following – A facilitator can run an interactive and exciting event with only the following few items (with flipcharts in the room a given): […]


Facilitate and/or Participate?

We have just finished facilitating three internal retreats in the last 10 days as a part of our organizational development and change process. Two were with new Groups that are being constituted by combining smaller internal teams for greater synergy, effeciency and “network-based delivery” of our institution’s conservation goals. The learning that has occurred through […]


Pulling Yourself Together

We spent the last 20 minutes of our organizational development retreat yesterday coming up with words that describe our organizational culture in 4 years at the “end” of our formal organizational development and change process. The words were wonderful, and we were able to go around our circle three times before we ran out of […]



Lizzie to Gillian: OK, I think we have everything we need for the retreat except the rope and the blindfolds… Don’t get too excited, this is Gillian and Lizzie preparing for a 2-day organizational development retreat. We are going to play a communication game called “Islands” . We spent today finding planks, plywood sheets, beanbags, […]

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Keeping It Fresh

Today I found myself in the bleachers of, can you believe, the 5th circus performance in under a month. I have serendipitously enjoyed: one national Swiss circus, one regional Swiss circus, one opening of the World Conservation Congress (which involved four perilous circus performers – I am going to count that), the none-other-than Cirque du […]


The Sound of One Hand Clapping

At the end of a team building module, one of several in a leadership training course I used to give, we would often play a quick game called, “The Sound of One Hand Clapping”. You tell people that you will count to three and say “GO” and then they all should clap at the same […]