¿How to build / negotiate shared models in a big team?


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    Christian Lamm

    Hi everyone!

    I will be facilitating a daylong session for a team of 23 people. They want to define and agree the team´s mission, values, objectives, etc. Starting with individual models and then negotiating shared models.

    I´ve never facilitated a team with more than 10 persons. So, my question is: is it possible to build shared models (e.g., team´s values) with 23 persons in the same table? Or would it advisable to divide them in two or three tables, so that each table builds it´s own shared models?

    Thanks in advance!


    Alejandro Cabral

    Hey Christian, how are you? I mostly work with smaller teams, never more than 12 people when I can, but every now and then a larger group comes in. This is how I’ve approached those workshops, after consulting with trainers and more Sr. facilitators:

    1. Try to recruit at least 1 more facilitator to keep that 1-to-12 ratio when possible.
    2. Definitely break them up. With that number, I’d do at least 2 tables (1 per facilitator), or if you want to do smaller tables, you might need to consider more facilitators. Also keep in mind that having all 23 people pay attention to each model is not practical. Smaller tables help. Setting up teams will maximize the attention they will be able to pay here.
    3. Spend the proper amount of time on the skill builds part, but don’t go into rabbit holes. Move fast.
    4. It seems the objective of the meeting is well-defined. Make sure your stake-holders (or who is actually hiring you) is 100% aware of possible outcomes here.
    5. With large crowds, timing is everything. With longer activities, I try to keep each person’s time (build, explain, reflect) below the 5′ threshold.
    6. And finally…consider adding another day.

    Good luck!

    Francine Masson

    Hi Christian !
    I have facilitated LSP sessions with 30 + people, on my own, dividing the group into tables that vary between 6 and 8.Additionally, I use hourglasses to time and make sure I manage time closely.
    the introductory exercises are essential, then each team regroup and works together, and once they have defined their perspectives on the subject, I ask all the other teams to come and hear each of the perspectives.
    Finally, I ask each team to choose their best of, and bring them on a big table where the whole group can intervene, discuss and conclude.
    I would suggest 1+1/2 day if you really want good final results. At the end of 1 day, people are tired and it is more difficult to define “team wisdom, simple guiding principles and actions”. The morning after, minds are clear and ready to conclude better !
    Good luck,

    Christian Lamm

    Dear Alejandro and Francine, thanks a lot for your advice. Very useful!

    If I understood it correctly, you recommend to limit the participant´s “explain time”. What what would you consider to be an adequate explain time if there are 11 to 12 people in each table?

    Regards from Madrid


    Francine Masson

    Dear Christian
    I calculate the time that 1 person requires, then multiply by the total at the table, so a 1 minute presentation, I would allow 12 minutes for this exercise session. As a result, with a room of 23 people, the time will have been reduced by 50%. With tables of 6 people, the time would then be 6 minutes.
    Hope this helps, don not hesitate to contact again or look me up on LinkedIn ;)
    Sincerely, from Montréal !

    Christian Lamm

    Thanks for all your advice. The client finally decided to make two half day sessions instead of a daylong one. We already had a very successful first session. I allowed the participants 2 minutes to explain their models, which proved to be adequate.

    Participants and client very satisfied. I never cease to be amazed how powerful this tool can be.

    Regards from Spain,


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