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Episode 021

July 24, 2019

021 – How to use Liberating Structures to translate the purpose into a process – with Max Brouwer

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    In this episode, I talk to Max Brouwer, a change-agent, scrum master and facilitator who also runs a solo consulting business The core of our conversation is the method of “Liberating Structures” and we dig deep into different exercises (so-called “structures”) and how to effectively apply them in different contexts. We also talk about the role of managers as “facilitating leaders” and how to avoid the “leadership bias” when a senior manager joins a workshop.

    I was particularly curious to learn about Max’ experience of organizing Meet-up events that bring together groups of unrelated people to learn and experience “Liberating Structures”. Amongst others, I learned from Max a nice add-on to my favourite “premortem” exercise: After a brainstorm on how to fail a goal, he asks participants to highlight those items that they are already doing and challenges them on how to stop doing that.

    Don’t miss the part when Max shares how he dealt with the situation when a manager started co-facilitating the workshop and questioned the process. And don’t miss our heartful laughs throughout the show (which I decided not to delete just for the fun of it).

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    Feeling inspired by the conversation in this episode? We can have our own – take a seat at my virtual table as part of a Mastermind Group.

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    Questions and Answers

    1:36 If you were a hashtag, what would it be?

    2:26 What is a change agent?

    3:43 Can you learn to be a change agent and how do you become one?

    6:23 What have you learned from being a consultant about facilitation?

    9:09 Must the CEO be present in the workshop? And if so, how do you prevent the leadership bias?

    11:10 Can you briefly explain the concept of “Liberating Structures”?

    14:49 Do you usually co-facilitate workshops with other practitioners of “Liberating Structures” (Liberating Structuralists??)

    20:05 Can you share the story you just mentioned about the manager who started co-facilitating one of your workshops?

    25:33 Coming back to the meet-up your organized: What was the outcome? Can managers become “facilitating leaders”?

    28:03 Do you think we can create a “kitchen table” atmosphere at work?

    31:00 How do you adjust your string to different topics of a “Liberating Structures” Meet-up?

    34:08 Often I came across the method of ‘min specs’ – can you explain me what this means?

    35:50 Which list is usually longer – the list of the dos or of the don’ts?

    40:28 How you design a Meet-up workshop for which you most often don’t know the group of participants?

    45:53 What makes a workshop fail?

    47:08 What shall the audience remember from our conversation?


    Jason Little “Lean Change Management”

    Lean Coffee (Meeting format)

    Impromptu Networking (Exercise)

    Priya Parker “The Art of Gathering”

    Fishbowl conversation (Exercise)

    Wicked Questions (Exercise)

    Min specs (Exercise)

    Triz (Exercise)

    Worldcafé (Exercise)

    Our sponsor Session Lab 

    Connect to Max

    LinkedIn or join one of his Liberating Structures Meet-ups