A couple of years ago I was in a planning session, where the intent was to look to the future of our company and determine how best to grow without losing the home town culture that we had developed over many years.

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A couple of years ago I was in a planning session, where the intent was to look to the future of our company and determine how best to grow without losing the home town culture that we had developed over many years. By random draw I was grouped with about six people that included the CEO. The planning session was being facilitated by an outside person in hopes that employees would feel more comfortable voicing ideas and sharing strategies, which hints at how most of us felt unable to do so. The CEO was very approachable, but very managerial as well. He had ideas and plans that addressed immediate needs but did not look to the future. He took control of the small group and monopolized the conversation and we all allowed him to. When we came back together as a large group, he again tried to control the conversation, however, the facilitator gently brought it to his attention that our groups’ ideas were great for immediate implementation, but the focus of our time needed to be on the future. The whole room could read that the CEO was not happy, which prompted many participants to not voice their ideas and opinions. Had the CEO been more open to the process and used leadership skills instead of managerial skills to set the tone for the day, I am sure the planning session would have been more genuine and successful

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