Planning is a necessary part of all team work. Having a process that works to clarify the Planning Path and develop a team process for planning will ensure that results are achieved, and everyone on the team does their best work. The Exponent Leadership Process does that. It unifies the organization and your planning process to make your team and leaders better.
Planning Path: Corporate TeamBuilding Activity
Outcomes & Objectives:
- Create a shared understanding of the necessary planning steps in completing the goal. For team projects, everyone’s input and work are needed, and it must be planned to connect the information and work in the time-frame when it is necessary.
- Planning Path forces the team to clarify accountabilities of the plan and necessary time-frames coordinating the effort of all the individuals into one system.
- Additionally, this clears up the confusion that occurs through language and levels of understanding used to describe the plan.
- This process works to define how, who, what and when the work will get done. The team works together to develop a shared plan to complete a given goal or task.
- Wall to stick things to or Flip Chart Paper or a White Board
- Lots of Post-it notes.
- A goal or objective to be achieved (preferably in a ‘what-by-when’ QQT/R format)
- From 1 – 10
- 1 – 4 hours depending on the complexity and team dynamics.
Ensure that there is a goal to be discussed, that all the participants know and have an understanding of;
A goal is a what-by-when
- Quality: What are the expectations of how good completion and effort must be?
- Quantity: How much of the quality is to be supplied; what amount is acceptable.
- Time Frame: This is a date and time that it must be completed by, with the Quality and Quantity Standards.
- Resources: What can be used, what cannot be used, how the staff member can access the resources, and who has to be informed that these resources are being used?
Instructions and Facilitator Script:
Start the activity by framing the context of the Goal and explaining what is to be accomplished by when for the entire planning project.
Saying something like “As a team, we need to achieve x by z date and time. In a moment we are going to work together to create a Planning Path to coordinate all of our personal steps and team processes to accomplish x by z. At this point, we don’t know all the possible challenges, and by creating this Planning Path, we will be able to set a broad understanding with sufficient room for autonomy in each of our accountability areas. AND it is necessary that we, as a team clarify how, who, what and when pieces of the project will be completed.”
Write or Draw your best visual representation of the Goal on the Flip Chart Paper and stick it to the wall.
Establish a start-point with the team; this can be “from today” or “the beginning of the month” or “once we receive the resources to begin.” This will frame the context of everyone’s understanding at a shared moment in time (this way the team starts at the same point as opposed to their individual start points).
If the team cannot think or agree on a start-point, YOU decide for them.
Once the team or you choose a starting point write it on a Post-It and stick it to the wall.
General Guidelines for Planning Path;
Ask the participants to individually think about the plan from the start-point to the Goal Achievement. They are to write this out step, by step, by step using the Post-Its, one Post-It per step in the plan.
Allow about 10-15 minutes for the individual planning or when you see that writing is stopping and people are out of ideas.
Then ask them to break into groups of 3 and take 15 minutes to compare, discuss, and find similarities and differences in each person’s steps. While discussing, these steps instruct the teams to NOT JUDGE just listen to the each person’s steps in the plan from the start-point through step 1, 2, 3, 4…to the goal.
Next ask all the people to come to the wall and stick their steps from the start-point through 1, 2, 3, 4…to the goal on the wall to compare. The team should place their steps above or below each other so they can examine the steps.
Focus the group on the accumulation of shared steps for this plan. Look for areas of agreement and difference.
Ask the group to find what they agree upon with the steps. Mark those as “Agreed Upon (AU)” steps in the plan.
Ask the group to find areas of confusion or disagreement about the steps. Mark those as “Not Yet (NY).”
The Agreed Upon (AU) Steps are ready to be placed into an action plan and move ahead.
With the Not Yet (NY) Steps separate those and facilitate a discussion about what is needed to make these steps clearer and Agreed Upon. Once the steps are agreed upon (AU) they can also go into the action plan and move ahead.
Once you have Agreed Upon (AU) all the steps and the team understand who, how, when and where each step is taking place transfer the Post-Its into an action plan and create a Plan Document for the team to work off of.
In your Team Planning and Information Meetings pull up the Plan Document and see where the people and the team are about the ‘Agreed Upon’ steps to the achievement of the goal.
The team needs to define their Planned Path within the Goals set. Sit back and allow the individuals and team to develop the path. If you are a team leader, your work is done; you set the goals. The challenge is as a team leader you also have to add value to the work, this may be by;
- Acquiring the necessary resources for the individuals and team to get the work done.
- Provide Coaching and feedback to individual and the team when needed.
- Use your influence to gain support for the team from other people who are not on this team.
- Use your authority to keep the individuals and team accountable for achieving the goal to the QQT/R standards.
Learning & Application Questions:
- What were some key items that you noticed during this time?
- In what ways did our use of certain terms and language change throughout this Planning Path?
- What about this process was useful to you?
- Knowing this team as well as you do on a scale of 0 – 10 with 0-being “Not at all” and 10-being “Absolutely” where would you say the team is in the likelihood of completing this goal on time within Quality Standards?
- What did you see in the team during this process that made you score them where you did, as opposed to a lower number?
- What would be different about the team if they were 1 point higher on the same scale?
- How would you know that the team was 1 point higher on the same scale?
- If this team is one point higher on the same scale how would your communication and work be different to them?
- What about that has already happened, even a little bit?
- What about this process that was successful can we use to continue the team’s success? How?
- Gamestorming; Dave Grey. Post the Path page 201
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