When establishing a plan for a meeting, keep in mind that sometimes you want divergent thinking to expand possibilities, and other times you want convergent thinking to zero in and move forward quickly. The chart below shows these contrasting situations.
|Destination and/or path ill-defined||Destination and path well-defined and familiar|
|Need divergent thinking to expand possibilities||Need convergent thinking and methodical progress|
|Generally strategic, requiring brainstorming, creativity, innovation||Generally tactical, requiring planning, tracking, juggling resources|
|Plan to tackle few topics and allow enough time for each; consider brainstorming and open-ended questions to explore multiple perspectives; use frequent process checks to ensure progress||Can process many topics relatively quickly in a logical sequence|
|Provide loose guidelines that encourage participation and creativity||Provide tight guidelines that encourage focus and discipline|
|Rough time ranges||Tight time ranges|
|Ensure appropriate attendees are present|
|Ensure appropriate attendees are prepared and understand why they are there|
A mixed bag of topics, some requiring divergent thinking and some requiring convergent thinking, within a single meeting is generally more difficult to manage because the mindset, skill set, and focus are so completely different. It is best to hold separate meetings but the most important part is to think this through and have a plan.