Takeaways from my first two-day workshop with an executive team
Last week I guided my executive team through a two-day workshop focusing on how they might work on strategy with focus and continuity.
  • Tests/Do now-tasks from two LDJs = independent work in the final session
  • Introduce logic of design thinking = reminder that the purpose is priority - not perfection
My manager’s brief was that the team should find ways to work on strategy with focus and continuity. They already have a defined strategy and activities but have struggled to make progress.
In the first afternoon, I guided the team through an LDJ that was focused on the wider challenge of how they could focus and work with continuity with strategy.
I started off by explaining the background and logic behind the LDJ (note, vote, prioritize and Design Thinking). Returning to the process logic also worked like the mood diagram that AJ & Smart sometimes draw in the beginning of workshops for me. That way I could remind the team where we were in the process and the point of the exercises. I drew the double diamond for the introduction and as the workshop processed, I noted when we moved through the 4Cs framework in one of the whiteboard corners. Explaining the logic from the start made it easier to repeat that their purpose was to define priorities to test – not the perfect problem or solutions.
I almost forgot the final part of assigning the tests on an What, Who When-board. When we shared our experiences from the day one member said they’d enjoyed it, however, was anxious to delegate the tasks and commit to timelines. Having the exit talk planned sure helped and we were able to complete the task delegation before ending the session.
The next morning, we did the second LDJ. The idea was to use the second LDJ to design a simple project plan based on the top voted solution that ended up in the project-box on the action board in the previous workshop. I figured that several of their already planned activities in the strategy are complex and the workshop was a good opportunity to give one of them a push. I will post my project plan template with instructions on what parts from the workshop to fill in with.
Through the tasks they produced in both LDJs the team had essentially planned the last session themselves. I used the last afternoon to give them the opportunity to launch these tests and start working.
The team shared in the beginning that they were anxious coming to the workshop because they didn’t know more than the general timeline of the sessions. Understandable considering, they are all managers and used to controlling the agenda. That is why I believe spending time in the beginning on explaining the logic of design thinking helped and why I would be giving them clear instructions.
In the end, the feeling was that they had gotten stuff done and that the stuff was within their strategy. That means – I made it!
Do you recognize yourself in any of my experiences? Please share!
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Emelie S
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Takeaways from my first two-day workshop with an executive team
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