Rounds: include all perspectives with no interruptions

Rounds are a structured form of discussion designed to systematically gather all of the perspectives in the room.

“Normal” conversation is often inequitable

Unstructured conversation (you know, "normal" conversation) has some unaddressed flaws: loud voices dominate; we miss valuable points of view; we waste time repeating each other when we really just agree; we struggle to get to the point.

The way we discuss impacts the way we decide

When there are clear, absolute chains of command, how we discuss doesn’t make much difference, or is already decided before we get in the room. In this context, the team’s job is to equip the decision maker with data to inform the decision.

But this kind of clarity is rarely the rule. Within the organization, teams are rapidly forming and disbanding, multiple “bosses” need to feed into a given decision, and decisions are always open to re-evaluation. Outside, conditions are changing too fast for any one decision-maker to have the best data about how to proceed.

So we need to be intentional about how we surface and incorporate different perspectives into how we proceed. You might call this emergent collective wisdom – created by letting everyone respond to a prompt without interruption.

It’s actually as simple as selecting a given prompt, and letting folks speak. Call on them, or let them find their own order. Go around once, or until everything that needs to be said has been said.

Prompts we love

  • Checkin Round: “What has your attention as we enter the meeting?”
  • Creativity Round: “Silently capture your thoughts on [this topic] wherever you think best [Set a time limit].”
  • Question Round: “Do you have any questions to clarify or help you understand what you just heard?”
  • Reaction Round(s): “What’s working about what you’ve just heard? Where are you getting stuck?”
  • Objection Round: “Do you have data that indicates this is unsafe to try for our business?”
  • Closing Round: “Share a reflection on the session.”