Workout: April 24, 2013

Design Goals and Principles

  • Have deep discussions focused around a key question for each participants’ project
  • Practice design and facilitation

Workout Plan

What Happened


  • I made a last minute decision to scrap a much more directive design for this very open one. Took too much time setting up the discussion as a result. No disclaimers; just go into the workout!
  • Part of my angst about these exercises was that I was acting as a third participant. These kinds of exercises will work better with larger groups where I’m not a participant. That said, I think the participants still got good practice facilitating a conversation and being up in front of a room, and the content was valuable too.
  • 20 minutes isn’t that long, but it’s enough to get some practice and to demonstrate some things.

Round 1 Discussion

  • Saw some nice facilitative moments from both participants: listening and reflection, good presence.
  • Good demonstration of the importance of the opening question. For first-level participants, I can focus the entire bootcamp around generative questions, and I think it will be valuable.
  • Debrief took almost as long as the discussion itself! Part of the reason was that I wanted to address some of the content of the discussion, as it’s relevant to what they’re trying to learn.

Round 2 Discussion

  •  In a lot of ways, mirrored the first round in that both participants had nice facilitative moments, and it was a good practice opportunity to demonstrate the impact of the opening question.
  • In both rounds, also demonstrated the importance of What and Why questions (vs How).
  • Didn’t have much time for debrief, since we were running out of time.


  • Neither participant was able to complete this due to scheduling challenges with their colleagues. 

Lessons Learned

  • Hit the 90-minute mark (although started a bit late)
  • Participants are really starting to see the importance of generative questions.
  • Surfaced a key theme among both participants (conflict-aversion). I can focus the last session on this and on group dynamics in general (which was originally what I was going to do this session on).
  • Spent too much time framing “facilitation” and the exercises. 
  • Gotta keep things tight. Resist the temptation to dive too deeply into content.
  • Could have been more directive in asking participants to think about room setup, etc.

I'd love to hear what you think! Please leave your comments below.