Thanks for your comment, Carolyn.
To answer your questions:
1. Yes, I’ve had resistance. In fact, I’ve had senior management walk out of sessions like this because they’re not getting their own way. Let’s remember, potentially, there will be a lot of egos in the room, so they need to be delicately handled. A good way of doing this is laying down the law right at the beginning of a session. Specifically, I make a strong point of mentioning the ‘No Pulling Rank’ rule. This seems to put many people, particularly management, at ease.
2. It does a few things. Firstly, they feel they are involved right from the start. It shows them you value their opinion, and also that they have valued ideas to contribute.
I have found that a lot of clients have really good ideas once pushed and squeezed a little — which is what these sessions are all about.
3. A trained facilitator, at least for your first couple of sessions, would be very valuable. If you don’t have access to them, or indeed if you don’t have the budget, then this is something you can do yourself. Getting people started with ideas generation isn’t the difficult bit. The difficulty comes in capturing those little sparks of ideas, knowing when to move on, and of course, having the energy to keep reinforcing those rules.
Hope that goes some way to answer your questions.