You can find an introduction to Sensemaking Meetings in Chapter 29 of Where the Action Is. These resources will help you plan, run, and troubleshoot the specific Sensemaking Meetings your team needs.
A Sensemaking Meeting is used to find answers to questions and improve shared group understanding of a topic or situation.
- What can we learn from each other about this topic?
- How can we make sense of this situation?
- Project Discovery Meetings
- Incident Investigations
- Doctor/Patient Consults
- Community Input Sessions
- Market Research Panels
- Situational Analyses
- Informational Interviews
- To learn things you can use to inform later action.
- To gain an understanding of the current state of a project, organiza-tion, or system.
- To get help figuring something out.
- Shared information.
- New data or insights that can translate into action.
- Support and a sense of being “in it together.”
- A better understanding of the current situation.
Meeting Agenda Templates and Guides
|Kim Seeling Smith - Use this meeting to uncover the reasons an employee chose to leave your company. Seek feedback that helps your organization make the changes necessary to prevent unwanted employee turnover in the future.|
|Elise Keith - This sensemaking meeting provides teams with feedback and insights they can use when tackling challenging projects. During the meeting, the team presents their challenge to the advisory council, where they can tap into the council members’ “braintrust,” or deep expertise. Council members ask clarifying questions,... [ more ]|
|Ingrid Bens - This meeting agenda template provides an excellent format for a consultant’s first meeting with a new client group, helping consultants better understand the organizations they serve. The process outlined here helps the client group explore the circumstances surrounding the new project. They get to share their... [ more ]|
|Kavana Tree Bressen - This template guides users through a pre-meeting interview in preparation for a conflict resolution session of 2-6 participants (+ facilitator). The latter session may be referred to as a mediation. The planned session will attempt to heal a relationship that has broken down so that the parties can work effectively... [ more ]|
|Richard Lent, Ph.D. - Gather productive feedback and build alignment on a new proposal or plan using this simple meeting structure. After presenting the proposal, you’ll lead the discussion using three feedback questions asked in a specific order. This meeting agenda template can be used to create a stand-alone meeting dedicated to... [ more ]|
|Paul Axtell - Leaders seek alignment when defining goals, making decisions, or formulating strategic plans. When it’s important to have everyone in the group on board with the outcome, working through this series of deliberate and thoughtful questions can help achieve group alignment. This meeting agenda template provides a... [ more ]|
|Barbara MacKay - This guidebook explains how to prepare for and run important conversations regarding COVID-19 with your team using the ToP® Focused Conversation Method. Barbara MacKay briefly introduces the ToP® Focused Conversation Method, which was developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs. This simple, logical approach to... [ more ]|
Recommended Reading & Resources
- "Is this really an "ancient Chinese proverb"?". Metafilter (2013).
- The Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision Making. Sam Kaner (2014).
- The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone. Steven Sloman, Philip Ferbach (2017).
- SENSEMAKING Framing and Acting in the Unknown Deborah Ancona, MIT-Sloan School of Management