Moving an organization in a clear, focused direction is difficult but powerful. When there is organizational alignment, putting a force against it (like new initiatives and goals) will push it into a new direction quickly and efficiently. If the organization is not aligned, new forces tend to disperse the energy and people revert to sub-optimal productivity.
Facilitations are NOT offsites and they are not retreats. I call them Advances because when we come out of it we are moving forward. To get there requires these ingredients:
Safety: Creating an environment of gratitude and appreciation, where people feel safe that they are in a supportive group.
Clarity: Well articulated and measurable objectives that a team can circle around
Participation: Active engagement of EVERYONE to share their views without judgement whether in break-out sessions or in the full group setting.
Prioritization: The ability for the team to come together as a group (wisdom of the group) to express what they believe are the most important (and least important) areas of focus
Ownership: Every priority needs an owner and while an owner does not do everything, they are accountable
Measurement: Accountable for what? This is the High-5 test. We must be clear that it is unambiguous whether an objective was achieved or it wasn’t. Lead with data.
Cadence: It’s not about what we decide at the Advance but the process for how to maintain energy and alignment after it.
Advances are also energizing. Ultimately they end up reducing unnecessary meetings, promoting a culture of shared principles, and accelerating the critical few things that create equity value for the business.