Terres Inconnue

Food for thought

Measuring the performance of collective activities

In this period when so much focus is on results, on return on investment, we wish to share our experience when it comes to collective initiatives.

We have found that the most powerful indicator is neither the participant’s level of satisfaction, nor the quality of the outputs of the gatherings, nor the amount of decision’s made: it’s how present each participant is during the meetings. Gathering a large number of the key actors of a company at a convention, an annual meeting, or for an important project mobilizes for a given time a significant portion of the resources of the organization – people whose individual daily fully loaded “cost” is often as high or higher than the consultants’ fees.


An ‘ideal’ meeting maximizes each and every participant’s intelligence, motivation and contribution. Here are some of the key issues that need to be addressed to enable this level of presence:

  • Who needs to come to the meetings: what actors (within and outside the entity we’re working with) need to interact to make headway on these issues?
  • What activities need to be proposed to allow the participants to realize how important it is for him/her to participate, how his/her contribution is vital, how much he/she is respected and appreciated by the rest of the group?
  • What are the most compelling questions for these issues – questions that will fully mobilize the energy of each and every participant?
  • How to keep the ball rolling after the meetings? How to fully capitalize on all the energy of the community?

Concentrating on getting everyone to fully contribute concurrently often runs countercultural to the companies we work with. Nothing is worse than experiencing a strong moment of openness, engagement and community and then to come back to a workplace where you don’t feel free to talk about the real issues, the real problems (except when you are the leader giving solutions to your teams). A significant part of our job is working with management teams before and after these “events” to become aware of this need to “let go” and to change the ways they behave in their own meetings (executive committee meetings, management seminars, project meetings …)