Team Communication and Difficult Conversations

Susan Docherty, former president and managing director of General Motors, described how she and her team communicate at meetings:

I love to brainstorm with my team around the table in my office. I like to use a big whiteboard for ideas, because when you make things visual, you encourage the team to get up there at the whiteboard and put their thoughts out there. It’s one thing to say that you’re inclusive, but it’s a whole other thing to be inclusive. And when people come into my office, they feel welcome. My door is open. They can bring ideas. They begin to understand that, as a leader, I want to be collaborative. I don’t have all the answers or all the best ideas, nor do I want to. The whiteboard also keeps great ideas in front of us, not buried in an email and not buried in a stack of papers on our desks. And it enables everybody to own what we’ve got to get done. People will grab a marker and put up there that we’re going to do a deep dive to figure something out, and they put their name beside it. And there are lots of times where we put something on the board, and it requires a couple of people to get together to go work on it.66

Based on Docherty’s comments and your own experiences, answer the following:

What strategies can you use for making meetings more visual? What are the benefits of making meetings visual?
What strategies can you use to make meetings more inclusive?
What does it mean for “everybody to own what we’ve got to get done”? What are a few approaches you can take to help make this happen for work teams?

Sample Solution