What's in Your Recipe Box?

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I'm a gal that loves a good meeting. Wait, I'll say that again: I love a good meeting. There is an art to setting up and facilitating an effective meeting—and it's one of those opportunities to step up as a leader, whether that status is embedded in your title or not. When you facilitate a meeting that respects others' time and leads to productive forward movement, people take notice.

I have a recipe box on my desk that is filled with recipes for a good meeting.

Rather than ingredients for a soup, the cards detail ways of facilitating individual and community reflection, checking in on the status of a collaborative project, and building trust and a shared knowledge base in teams. There are some old favorites that I'm comfortable pulling out in any moment, and some newer ones that I'm working on putting my own spin on (credit to the amazing Sarah Meyer for giving me the framework of a "recipe box").

My recipe box is all about facilitation—it's an area of work that I've always been drawn to, and something that I could read about/nerd out about to no end. I just can't help but be interested in it.

I realized that I had a thing for facilitation when an intern joined my organization and started asking questions about my thought process as I went into meetings. I found myself turned around in my chair, talking with him about—of all things—crafting an agenda for an hour. (For the record, he wanted to nerd out about it, too!)

So, what's in your recipe box?
What is an area of work that you can't help but be curious about?
What would you love to talk with an intern about for an hour? 

It could be a specific content area (like Reflective Grantmaking or Global Capital Markets Conditions), or a process (like meeting facilitation or project management).

Start building your knowledge base around your topic by gathering resources (articles, books, podcasts), connecting with other people (colleagues, mentors, thought leaders), and techniques ("recipes", tools, and best practices). Bring them together in a file, a folder on Google Drive, a Pinterest board, or yes, even in a good ol' recipe box. 

I've been building up my box for the past ten years, and now, through Penney Leadership, I'm activating it in a wide range of organizations and types of teams. We're rolling out workshops for businesses & institutions to foster leadership and strategic growth, and we're offering a menu of interactive workshops tailored to mission-driven professionals and college & graduate students. You can learn more here!