Recently a leader of a Strategic Doing Workshop called about how they have finished their first Pathfinder Project and want to know what to do next? A Strategic Doing Workshop is usually a 3-hour session in which one or more teams has a guided conversation and identify opportunities based on their assets, choose one opportunity to focus on first, sketch out a pathfinder project, and agree on next steps—including what each person will do and when they’ll regather. The workshops are more than talking – they are opportunities to be doing. Teams create a “Strategy 1.0”, a first implementation plan, and a plan to reconvene to assess progress.
The teams leave the workshop enthusiastic to accomplish their first project together. Meeting regularly afterwards, the team discusses what is working or not, what changes need to be made, and what next steps will be taken by each team member.
Project examples could include competitions, an event like a field trip, creating a prototype or proof of concept, drafting a white paper, doing a survey, or holding a forum. Teams are to complete their first pathfinder in about 3 to 6 months. For the teams that use the process they often have outstanding results and that can lead directly to another project. Sometimes the team membership changes and with some leaving and new people joining so the next project may not appear seamlessly.
Maybe Strategic Doing needs a Rule 11 which would be “Do it again.” Here are some thoughts on what you could do:
· Reconvene the team and evaluate the energy level to determine if the team wants to continue to move forward. Ask questions that provide feedback to the first project that then evaluate if that affects the second project.
· Start by assessing if there are some members who are satisfied with the first project and want to depart, and if there are new people who want to join. Looking at this group, is there value in the opportunities that were not taken in the first workshop?
· The teams in the first workshop selected at least three opportunities that were evaluated and more that were not. Does that list have any opportunities that could be used now? Is the team ready to engage and act on one of the opportunities that were created but were not selected?
· If the team membership has changed what assets does the new person(s) bring and how can that be linked and leveraged with the other team members. Does a new opportunity emerge that could not have been there before because of these newly introduced assets?
First projects for Strategic Doing teams are a good opportunity to build trust between members. This first project demonstrates how likely the team is to do this again. And it does not matter if the project succeeded, was modified, or dropped. If the feedback loop sessions happened, and the results implemented, team members build the trust that is needed for true collaboration. It will be the trust that will drive the team into the second project.
Building on that, team members will begin by agreeing on how they will decide on the next project. Knowing the framework for decision making is very important and needs to be done before the next project is picked. This choice of decision making such as using sticky dots, consensus, or consensus minus one needs a group agreement. Then you can begin listing the possible projects and use the 2X2 matrix methodology to choose which one is the easiest to accomplish and will have the most impact.
Then you truly did Rule 11- Do it Again. Over time as more team members use the methodology it becomes the culture of the team to accomplish work this way. Trust builds and teams form who may not even realize they are using Strategic Doing methodology. It will just come naturally to them just like it looks when an accomplished musician takes up their instrument and plays.