Celebration-5W version 7

Spot the difference:

The v7 deck of our context-capturing kickoff exercise Celebration-5W now has two sets of slides, one (left) with the What as “Key accomplishments, objectives, goals, your next breakthrough”, the other (right) with the newer “Your next big breakthrough and all that it makes possible”.

OK, if there are two variants, why not more?

Celebration-5W is actually pretty easy to change, even while you’re doing it! And it’s Creative Commons (CC-BY-SA); with appropriate attribution and under the same licence, you can even publish your version.

Some possible tweaks:

  • What: You’re celebrating the end of the project (not a variation I ever plan to try, but it’s easily done)
  • When: The earliest you dare celebrate the breakthrough upon which this upcoming period most depends (a good one for January, and I have done this one twice already this month)
  • Where: At which Prime Ministerial residence are you celebrating? Kidding, though I do say “have some fun with this one” – practicality isn’t the point here

What’s with the breakthough thing?

See Celebration-5W version 6, “your next big breakthrough” (September 2021).

Beyond that, I am actively exploring this kind of progression, which works as an extended kickoff or even a whole discovery workshop:

  1. Breakthrough – from Celebration-5W
  2. Adaptive challenge – the adaptive challenge that makes the breakthrough important
  3. Purpose – the purpose that makes the challenge meaningful and worth pursuing
  4. Ideal, Obstacles, Outcomes – ie the IdOO (“I do”) pattern:
    1. envisioning a compelling future
    2. identifying what gets in the way of what we want
    3. looking beyond those to what’s better
  5. Organise the strategy* – from the preceding conversations, representing impactfully our understanding/expectation/theory of:
    1. what impacts what, and
    2. where to focus our efforts first

*Language not from the book but familiar if you’re participating in the private beta of Leading with Outcomes: Foundation. Think Mapping, OKR, Theory of Change, etc.

Compared to a typical Agendashift discovery workshop, stages 2 and 3 above replace Agendashift’s True North or similar generative image, minimising the amount of foreign material introduced and any biases that they may bring. True North is great – cathartic even – when you’re about to do something that’s mainly about internal experience and capability, but when you’re about to do some kind of outside-in strategy (say), it may set up the wrong expectations.

Inspiration: Gervase Bushe’s Generative Change Model, as featured in his book (highly recommended) The Dynamics of Generative Change (2020). You may remember that I reconciled this model with Agendashift in the 2nd edition of Agendashift: Outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation (2021). Not only did I find a remarkable correspondence between the two, the thinking didn’t stop there.

Bottom line: Celebration-5W is a fun and highly reliable kickoff exercise. I never regret using it, and when I didn’t use it but could have done, that was usually a mistake. To make it even better, consider it as more than just a standalone exercise.


What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

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