In our last blog, we introduced you to nine facilitation tools to reduce frustration, improve productivity and increase collaboration in your meetings.
We have outlined the tools in the matrix below showing their most common uses.
Previously we looked closely at brainstorming to gather information. Today we will look at using an impact/effort grid to organize and evaluate information then choose the best solution. We will discuss how to use the tool effectively and consider its advantages and disadvantages.
Impact/Effort Grids are an easy-to-use tool for helping groups reach clarity about action plans. They are especially useful when:
• a group has to choose among a large number of possible actions; or
• individual group members simply cannot agree on what to do first.
An example: Here’s what an I/E Grid looks like.
I/E Grids are:
• easy to use
• require little preparation
• can be customized easily
I/E Grids can become problematic if:
• some group members become bogged down in defining or quantifying subjective terms such as “minor improvement” or “difficult.”
How to use it:
Here are the steps:
Draw the grid on a flipchart.
Post all the action ideas on a separate flipchart.
Discuss each action idea one by one and ask the group to place it in the appropriate box. All possible actions then become categorized as:
1. easy to do and will yield large improvement
2. easy to do but will yield only small improvement
3. difficult to do but will yield large improvement
4. difficult to do and will yield only small improvement
The group can then more easily decide to discard some ideas and focus time, energy and resources where they will produce best results.
We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the impact/effort grid and to experiment with it. When you feel comfortable with the tool, try it out at a meeting when you need to organize and evaluate information. You will quickly gain clarity about where to direct energy and resources.
In our next blog, we will look at weighted voting to identify priorities among a group.