Getting work done and moving forward quickly is a hallmark of my management style. Life is short, and there is no need to waste it in tireless, boring meetings all the time. Certainly meeting and talking is very useful at times, but outcomes-driven workshop sessions are far superior ways to work, more fun, and involve and empower everybody.
Here’s a collection of a few workshops that I use often
Early stage when there are lots of problems to potentially solve with lots of possible solutions.
When teams spend too much time talking / discussion and not enough decisions are made.
To get alignment when there are varying opinions and priorities across the team on a particular issue.
There is no group discussion or much talking in a decision jam. This allows for problems and solutions to be judged solely on merit and will not bias great presenters or speakers.
On the wall or whiteboard, divide a space in half with a line. On the left side, write down “Problems.” On the right side of the line, write Solutions.
Each team member writes down problems, issues, and concerns associated on Post-Its. (7 min)
Each team member then places their Post-Its on a wall, discussing each problem. Limit (1-2 min) per person.
After everyone has placed their Post-Its, each team member is given two voting dots from which to place on the problem they want to focus on. (5 min)
Votes are tallied. Identify winners.
The winners are reframed as“How Might We” statements - so for instance, if you have a problem such as“Customer needs a CSV” you can reframe it as“How might we allow customers to obtain a CSV?”
Now, on Post-It notes, each person writes solutions down to address the“How Might We” on stickies. There isn’t a format for the solutions, but they should be fairly succinct and clear. (7 min)
After time is up, everyone places their solutions quickly on the board.
Each team member is given two voting dots from which to place on a solution they want to focus on. (10 min)
Votes are tallied.
Now the discussion begins: decide what to execute on.
Act III (optional)
Apply those stickie solutions to an impact / effort chart. Any items that end up in the green space are vetted further. As the moderator, simply ask“higher or lower” when holding the Post-It to the chart. Try not to let any lengthy discussions break out.
What you do with these low effort, high impact solutions is the team’s call, but now you have something tangible from which to start.