Press junket for a knowledge area. The Executive Panel is a great opening strategy for any new knowledge management initiative. It involves a selection of executives who are experts in one area to form a panel and be asked questions from employees. It shows a commitment and enthusiasm for sharing knowledge with everyone. More importantly it humbles the executives, allows for sharing of stories and will put a friendly face on management.
How to host you own Executive Panel
8 – 20 Audience
Equipment: Open room, chairs
- Select a discussion topic. It is generally advised to stick to a theme or central question. You could either use a prechosen topic or ask for suggestions of topics beforehand. Note: this should be done well in advance as it might affect your choice of executives.
- Select a moderator. The person will move the conversation forward and deal with questions and keep to the time frame.
- Select 2 – 4 executives or managers to be a part of the panel.
- Either select or allow participants to sign up for the audience. Try to keep the numbers limited to 8-20. Too few, other strategies will be more helpful and to many it might put the executives at a disadvantage.
- Find an open space you can use. You want something warm and inviting. A class room setting would be best. Avoid communal areas and larger auditoriums. The idea is to get all of the audience asking questions.
- Set the time and the place. Give everyone an itinerary of what will be discussed.
- Once everyone is seated, have the moderator begin with a small introduction of the topic.
- Have the executives introduce themselves.
- The moderator asks the first question. Either present it to the group or pick out an executive to ask.
- The moderator should allow the discussion to develop naturally, only stepping in to keep the questions going or to ask an executive who is quite for their answer.
- Allow participants to ask questions. It is up to the moderator to choice how many questions are asked.
Here is a small list of discussion topics you can use:
Hardest part of your day
Going a step further.
- Deescalate the whole process. Give everyone food and drinks. Ask the executives to take their jackets off. The whole point is an informal look into the executives’ attitudes and mindsets.
- Be proactive with choosing topics. Hold a survey or voting for the topics. Try and find out what people really want to know.
- Tailor questions to each executive. For example, ask how a recent problem at work was overcome or how the latest sales figures where reached.
- Encourage the executives beforehand to give praise to areas and individuals of the company.
- Don’t make it a speech about how to do things better. Prompt conflicting opinions in strategies.
- You don’t want it too sound rehearsed.