Doing Agendashift online (4 of n): Ideal, Obstacles, Outcomes (IdOO)

The time to take a close look at 1) your strategy and 2) your ways of working is now. You need to do those together – integrated, wholeheartedly, no half measures. The place to do it is online. We’re here to help you.

This is #4 in a series of unspecified length, covering ways you can do Agendashifty things online (we have plenty of practice). And here, we really get to the heart of things.

Followers of this blog will know that 15-minute FOTO is our Clean Language-inspired coaching game, one of the highlights of any Agendashift workshop. You might even have guessed that this would be the 15-minute FOTO installment. You’re not wrong exactly, but first let’s see it in context.

Here it is in the Discovery session of the classic Core, Applied, or Deep Dive workshop, chapter 1 of the Agendashift book:

Idoo-Discovery

Same workshops, same book, but session/chapter 2, Exploration:

Idoo-Exploration

And now the Wholehearted:OKR workshop, different book (Right to Left), and the session Outside-in review (I):

Idoo-Wholehearted-OKR-outside-in-review-I

And session Outside-in review (II):

Idoo-Wholehearted-OKR-outside-in-review-II

Even if 1) the slides didn’t give the game away already and 2) I told you that there are two different flavours of 15-minute FOTO here and that sometimes we use a different tool entirely, you’d have no trouble recognising that there’s a pattern here.

I’m calling that pattern IdOO:

idoo-2020-03-25

Doing IdOO online

See the past installment 2. Celebration-5W to understand how we facilitate online at least one of the ways we can can establish some business context ahead of any reflection.

See 3. The assessments for how participants prioritise the assessment prompts on which they will reflect. For Discovery, it’s even simpler: just share the Agendashift True North (see the Resources section below).

Then (and you’ll find these questions in the True North deck):

  • When this is working at its ideal best for you, what’s that like?
  • And when that’s happening, what new stories could you tell?

Those questions work really well 1-2-4-All style as described in the assessments installment – individual silent reflections followed by pairwise, table group, and debrief conversations (a good test of your breakout room skills if you’re using Zoom).

That’s IdOO’s Ideal reflection part done. Easy!

To identify Obstacles:

  • What stops that? What gets in the way?

(See also The language of outcomes: 2. Framing obstacles)

Again, that’s straightforward enough. And again, 1-2-4-All works really well, except that this time those obstacles will need to be captured somehow when the conversation gets to table group level. Google Docs works great, but you’ll want to get documents set up and distributed ahead of time.

To generate Outcomes, you could just ask these questions with respect to the obstacles just captured:

  • What would you like to have happen? (or your favourite equivalent)
  • Then what happens? (asked a few times perhaps)

Even online, that’s temptingly easy. That would however be a huge opportunity missed. Instead of you asking the questions, how about your participants coach each other? That’s what 15-minute FOTO does, and both editions of the game (Lite and Classic) have versions specifically tailored for online use.

In some ways the online version is more efficient, with everyone joining in to help with the scribe’s task of capturing outcomes, clients as well as coaches able to refer to the notes (these roles rotate by the way). Especially if you’re facilitating it for the first time, don’t be afraid to join in – the Lite edition in particular includes a familiarisation phase.

Next time (not Monday, it being Easter) we’ll look at different ways those generated outcomes can be organised online.

Resources

All of these are open source (CC-BY-SA):

Become a partner for both the integrated workshop materials and the ability to administer the assessments described in the previous installment.

And the two books:

Upcoming online workshops


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Agendashift roundup, March 2020

In this edition: New blog series: Doing Agendashift online; Site updates; Upcoming workshops (online of course); Top posts

New blog series: Doing Agendashift online

The recent series The language of outcomes is followed by a new one: Doing Agendashift online. There have been three installments so far:

  1. Doing Agendashift online
  2. Celebration-5W
  3. The assessments

The timing of this series is of course no accident.  We do a lot online already; this was given extra urgency by the COVID-19 situation. There’ll be at least three more of these posts in the coming weeks; so far they’ve come out every Monday and I’ll do my best to keep to that pattern.

On a personal note, I’m glad to report that I’m out of solitary, no longer holed up in the studio (my office by day, self-contained accommodation when needed, actually quite comfortable). However, as we have what the UK authorities refer to as a “shielded” family member, our household will remain in complete physical isolation for weeks, if not longer. “Online” is very much the new normal for us and for many others like us. We’re ok, but if you know others in a similar situation, please do your best to help – it’s going to be a long haul.

Site updates

The time to take a close look at 1) your strategy and 2) your ways of working is now. You need to do those together – integrated, wholeheartedly, no half measures. The place to do it is online. We’re here to help you.

Work on the Agendashift site never really stops, but over the past few weeks the change has been particularly rapid. Most visibly:

The basic idea is to delineate more clearly – and in this order – what kind of thing Agendashift is, its ethos, and what it has offer. For those that want to dig deeper into the detail: where we’re coming from, what we reference, key structures, ideas, tools and techniques, and so on.

As well some major rework to existing content, new pages have been added too (some of those still a work in progress). One of those at least will get mentioned in the next blog installment, so don’t worry if it doesn’t jump out at you straight away!

agendashift-banner-2019-12-17

Screenshot 2020-03-31 11.23.06

Upcoming workshops (online of course)

Top posts

  1. Doing Agendashift online (1 of n)
  2. The workshop formerly known as Advanced
  3. Doing Agendashift online (2 of n): Celebration-5W
  4. The language of outcomes: 1. Identifying the adaptive challenge
  5. The language of outcomes: 5. Between ends and means

 


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Doing Agendashift online (3 of n): The assessments

The time to take a close look at 1) your strategy and 2) your ways of working is now. You need to do those together – integrated, wholeheartedly, no half measures. The place to do it is online. We’re here to help you.

This is #3 in a series of unspecified length, covering ways you can do Agendashifty things online (we have plenty of practice).

Here we look at Agendashift’s assessments, which have been online since the beginning. If ever you’ve been surveyed by email and Excel, you’ll know why we do it online; if you’re still doing it like it’s 1999, shame on you!

You can easily adapt the advice given here if you want to use the assessment for coaching purposes. Considerations for online workshops:

  1. How & when to send out the survey
  2. Delivering the survey debrief
  3. Facilitating the followups

That last consideration is a big enough topic that it will spill over into the next installment. Here we’ll cover things specific to the assessment itself.

1. How & when to send out the survey

I’ve not written about the assessment tool as much as I could and should – quite apart from its specific role in the workshop of helping people to identify areas of opportunity, it does a great job of setting the tone for the workshop or coaching engagement. And it’s a door-opener!

In its wording, we’ve taken great care to avoid prescription. People don’t respond well to anything that feels like coercion, and dialling back on the jargon means that it works in a wide range of contexts (some of our best experiences have been outside of technology teams) and opens up the broadest range of possibilities.

Some partners have reported good results from capturing survey input through a facilitated group exercise. Personally, I don’t do that, for fear 1) of sucking the energy from the room and 2) of depriving ourselves of the widest range of responses. That said, conducting the survey via a series of private one-to-one conversations does work really well.

Doing it one-to-one when you’re physically in the same room, handy tip #1 is to open the survey’s sharing link in a private browser window (an ‘Incognito’ window in Chrome). You slide your laptop over to your counterpart, they sign themselves up, and you take notes as they provide “as little or as much commentary as they like” as they complete their assessment. Online, just share the link – via Zoom’s chat feature, say – and have them complete their assessment whilst sharing their screen. Easy!

Tip #2: If you’re surveying a lot of people, and only some of them are through these one-to-one conversations, ‘tag’ the sharing link for each population group so that you can slice and dice the results afterwards. We find that leadership teams (for example) tend to score the assessment more strictly (lower, in other words), making them a good baseline for comparison with other groups.

For those larger populations, here’s a typical email invitation:

At the link below is the prework for <event>. Before you begin, decide on a scope – your team or something bigger – and stick to it; trust me that any differences in scope or scale will be not be an obstacle when we review the full survey results together.

If any of the prompts strike you as particularly important for discussion, please ‘star’ them when you get to the review page at the end. We ask that you limit yourself to a maximum of 6 stars, eg 3, 2, 1 for your top 3 priorities or 1 star each across 6; the tool will warn you if you go over this limit.

Please do your best to complete by <date> to give us time to print the handouts with the survey results. Thank you!

I like to send this out a week in advance. Of course for online workshops we won’t be relying on the printed handouts referred to in the last paragraph so the timing is slightly less constrained, but still you want to allow enough time both for responses and for a polite nudge or two if you’re not seeing the expected response rate.

2. Delivering the survey debrief

This part hardly changes. The debrief is already done via a browser-based report designed for projection, so just share your screen and you’re away. It’s a single page app that responds to your keyboard, mouse, or presentation clicker. The report starts high level – the aim being to get everyone comfortable and recognising their own data – and finishes on the prompts with the widest range of scores, where you’ll have the interesting discussions.

Tip #3: Remember the “brief” in “debrief”. Better too fast than too slow; participants will have plenty of opportunity to interact with the content afterwards.

Tip #4: Remember that it’s not your job to provide a diagnosis but to facilitate a conversation. Calibrate any commentary carefully. Agreement on outcomes is the most powerful for enabler for strategic change that we know; it’s why Agendashift exists, and the assessment and the followups are designed with that in mind. Don’t undermine it!

3. Facilitating the followups

Group work starts with prioritising the assessment prompts, each table group choosing a shortlist of prompts for further discussion, prompts that help to identify areas of opportunity. 5 prompts per table group works well.

I like to facilitate this 1-2-4-All style:

  • 1: On their own, silently, participants choose their top 3
  • 2: In pairs (or threes, as necessary) , a conversation to arrive at a joint top 4
  • 4: In table groups, agreement on a combined top 5
  • All: A quick whole group debrief

Each of those steps suitably timeboxed.

Tip #5: if you’re using breakout rooms in Zoom (a great feature), remember that anything you’re sharing on-screen will disappear when participants move to their pairs, threes, or table groups. Clear instructions and the availability of all necessary resources are both essential. To that end, each page of the debrief (the one below, for example, or the pages designed for printing) has a shareable URL.

Screenshot 2020-03-25 09.06.37

What happens next isn’t specific to the assessment and I’ll save for next week’s installment what turns out to be a key pattern and well worth covering on its own. So watch this space!

Two things to leave you with meanwhile:

1. Ways to access the assessment:

  1. The Agendashift global survey, with a mini (18-prompt) version of the assessment
  2. The free trial – also the mini version, surveys limited to up to 10 people
  3. Through the partner programme, access to the full range of templates (including the main 42-prompt assessment), size restrictions removed:
    1. Engage one of our partners to administer a survey on your behalf; most would also be delighted to do the surrounding facilitation
    2. Become a partner yourself  – access not just the assessment tool but all our materials too

2. Upcoming opportunities to experience Agendashift online:

 


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Doing Agendashift online (2 of n): Celebration-5W

The time to take a close look at 1) your strategy and 2) your ways of working is now. You need to do those together – integrated, wholeheartedly, no half measures. The place to do it is online. We’re here to help you.

This is #2 in a series of unspecified length, covering ways you can do Agendashifty things online. Here we look at Celebration-5W, the exercise I’ve used at or near the beginning of nearly every workshop I have conducted in recent years, and (accordingly) the exercise that opens chapter 1 of the Agendashift book. It’s open source (CC-BY-SA license), one of several such resources you can access here.

From the Celebration-5W page:

Celebration-5W is the first of Agendashift’s Discovery exercises. We have now made it available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license; not only can you view the deck here (embedded from Slideshare), you can request the original source .pptx files for incorporation with your own material or adaptation to your needs.

Celebration-5W is a time travel exercise, typically focussed on a celebration several months into the future. It is typically used at the start of a workshop, retrospective, or chartering exercise to create some shared business context. Everything else we go on to discuss should in some way help us to achieve the things we identify here.

You can see it in action 6 minutes into the video on the 15-minute FOTO page.

Celebration-5W is easy to facilitate online. Just as with doing it in person, there are two main considerations. The technology may have some influence on your choices:

  1. Is this a whole room exercise, or do we work in small groups (table groups in person, breakout rooms online)?
  2. Fancy template, or “Put your paper in portrait mode, the five headings down the page”?

Doing this in person with 6 or more people, I have a strong preference for working in table groups, debriefing each group one at a time afterwards if there aren’t too many of those, a small number of groups volunteering otherwise. This way, you learn a lot from the alignment (or otherwise) of outputs. That said, some facilitators report good experiences doing this as a whole room exercise, so take your pick. Online, your level of comfort with managing breakout rooms will no doubt be a factor (and I’ll mention some gotchas next time), perhaps favouring the whole room experience.

Working in person, I have used Mike Haber’s template ever since he contributed it. Doing it in person isn’t an option right now, but for when that opportunity returns it’s easy enough to draw by hand, and the Celebration-5W Dropbox includes pptx and pdf files you can print (I print them on A3 paper).

Online, a couple choices:

  • Replicate Mike’s template in your favourite online whiteboarding tool (eg Miro)
  • In Google Docs (or equivalent), the 5W headings – Who, What, Where, When, and Why – down the page (or pages or docs plural, for multiple groups)

I like Miro, but given that this is usually the kickoff exercise, I stick with the option familiar to the most people, Google Docs. In fact, in the Agendashift Online workshop (see below), Zoom and Google Docs is all the technology needed for the entirety of the first two-hour session.

All pretty straightforward, so give it a try! Including how access the Dropbox, there’s more on Celebration-5W here.

I leave you with some upcoming opportunities to experience it online:

Next: Doing Agendashift online (3 of n): The assessments

Celebration-5W-template-2019-03-v1


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Doing Agendashift online (1 of n)

The time to take a close look at 1) your strategy and 2) your ways of working is now. You need to do those together – integrated, wholeheartedly, no half measures. The place to do it is online. We’re here to help you.

This the first of what is likely to be several posts given extra urgency by the COVID-19 situation. On that specifically, there’s a quick personal update here on my precautionary self-isolation (if you’re connected with me on Facebook).

Inevitably, online is going to be a big theme for the next few months, and over the coming weeks I’ll describe some practical tips for doing various Agendashifty things online, and with it a few of the concepts, some of which we’re finding new and better ways to explain.

The series so far (I’ll keep this updated):

  1. Doing Agendashift online (this post)
  2. Celebration-5W
  3. The assessments

As it happens, we know enough already to do the whole thing online. And it’s just as well: we’ve withdrawn the two upcoming 2-day Wholehearted:OKR workshops that were to be held in Oslo and London, replacing them with one online:

Meanwhile, there’s the existing Agendashift Online workshop, which comprises two 2-hour sessions conducted over Zoom (and with the help of certain other collaboration tools) on consecutive days, covering the first two modules of the classic 4 or 5-module transformation strategy workshop. As of today, there are now two in the calendar, the first in the morning, UK time (good for morning people and much of APAC), and the second the late afternoon (evening people and the US).

I’ve reduced prices too. With the usual £50 discount on the Agendashift partner programme available to all workshop participants, it almost pays for itself, especially if you’re in there quick enough to grab an early bird ticket. So join us!

PS I’ve been in copywriting mode, rewriting the workshop descriptions for the April and June events. Even if you don’t currently plan to attend, your feedback would be very welcome – substantial portions of that text are destined to appear elsewhere…

Next: Doing Agendashift online (2 of n): Celebration-5W


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The workshop formerly known as Advanced

I’m just back from Gurugram – the city formerly known as Gurgaon, in the National Capital Region (NCR) around Delhi, India. Here’s the team photo, and thank you Deepti (far right):

7498dca0-a248-4e72-90ca-4e88f025efbc

Mid workshop, and after discussion both there and on Slack, we renamed Advanced Agendashift – a name that some found off-putting – to Agendashift Deep Dive, or to give it its full title, Agendashift Deep Dive: Coaching and leading continuous transformation. At a very high level, the two days comprise the following:

  1. A deep dive into Discovery, paced to create space for reflection and experimentation, and including additional material (relative both to Core and to the the Agendashift book) on culture, values, systems thinking, leadership, and coaching
  2. Everything from the assessment onwards as one integrated string of exercises, with additional material on organisation design

If you enjoyed my recent series on the Language of Outcomes, this is that, but in hands-on workshop form, aimed at anyone interested in leading change in a non-prescriptive and resolutely outcome-oriented way; Lean-Agile sensibilities definitely, but still framework-agnostic.

The next deep dive takes place Wednesday and Thursday next week in Malmö, Sweden, me co-facilitating with Julia Wester. Malmö is just a short train ride over the bridge from Copenhagen and I’ll be doing a meetup there the evening before.

The calendar below notwithstanding, given the coronavirus it’s possible that this might be your best opportunity attend to this workshop for some time (already we’re moving online a Wholehearted:OKR workshop originally intended for Oslo). Don’t miss your chance!


Workshops upcoming in 2020 – Malmö, Oslo (*2), London, Tel Aviv, and online

For a 20% saving, use discount code LONDON2020 for the London workshop and NORDIC2020 for Oslo and Malmö.

See also our workshops and events pages – Switzerland and Australia to be added soon.


From the exciting intersection of Lean-Agile, Strategy, and Organisation Development, Agendashift™: The wholehearted engagement model
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Agendashift roundup, February 2020

In this edition: Partners on tour; My short-to-medium term backlog; Top posts

A little early this month – I’m avoiding the rush before my trip to Gurugram, India (conference and workshop). Given that I did an interim roundup a couple of weeks ago, this one is mostly forward-looking; scroll down to the Top posts section to catch up on anything you may have missed.

Partners on tour

In two weeks time I’ll be flying into Copenhagen, Denmark, speaking at the #AgilityLab meetup (guest of my friend Leise Passer Jensen), then taking the train across the famous Öresund bridge to Malmö, Sweden – an easy trip if you’re thinking of joining us. That’s for this:

Julia was the first Agendashift partner to run public workshops and I’m very glad to have the opportunity to compare notes and styles! I work hard to make the material not just repeatable and reliable for my own sake, but transferable too. This doesn’t mean that every workshop is the same though – by design they’re highly sensitive to context and even the most self-consciously neutral of facilitators contributes something of themselves to that. In fact, most participants want something of their facilitator’s values and background to shine through, and Julia’s deep background in Lean, Agile, and DevOps is well worth paying attention to.

My next hosts are Agendashift partners Kjell Tore Guttormsen and Halldor Kvale-Skattebo, for the world premiere of the Wholehearted:OKR workshop:

I’ve known Kjell Tore for a while and we have quite a bit in common. Both of us have done work for our countries’ respective social security departments, Kjell Tore as an employee of Norway’s NAV, and myself as (among other things) the interim delivery manager on the Carer’s Allowance digital service for the UK’s DWP (truly a privilege). Also, and easily justifying the Oslo launch, Kjell Tore was an early collaborator on the outside-in strategy review that lies at the heart of the new workshop.

Back in the UK, I join forces with partners Karl Scotland and Steven Mackenzie, who with Mike Haber (not a partner but already a contributor), are the new workshop’s co-designers:

Karl has been a close collaborator from the beginning, encouraging Agendashift’s development “upstream” from its beginnings in the Agendashift Delivery Assessment and emphasising what might be called its “complexity consciousness”. Well downstream of the assessment, Karl was also – with Liz Keogh – co-creator of what we now call Option Relationship Mapping, easily my favourite innovation of 2019.

Having used it with clients as diverse as a technology startup and an agency of the UN, Steven is one of the most experienced partners in the use of Agendashift as an engagement model for coaches. His experience and eye for detail greatly benefited the books – effectively he was editor-in-chief to both Agendashift (2018) and Right to Left (2019).

Looking ahead to June, I’ll be back in Oslo with Kjell Tore and Halldor, this time for an Advanced Agendashift workshop:

For the workshops mentioned above, discount codes NORDIC2020 and LONDON2020 (you’ll know which one to use) will get you 20% off. Outside this “tour”:

See also our workshops and events pages – Switzerland, USA, and Australia to be added soon. And for more information about the partner programme:

You don’t have to be another Julia, Kjell Tore, Karl, or Steven to be a partner but I’m very glad to have them! Honestly, if you see value in outcome orientation, can see yourself being in the business of building wholehearted organisations, and/or want to do more at the exciting intersection of Lean-Agile, strategy, and organisation development, you’ll fit in just fine.

My short-to-medium term backlog

I’m a great believer not just in “eventual transparency” but in “working out loud”. A few days ago I posted the following on the Agendashift Slack:

Screenshot 2020-02-25 10.38.00

As you might guess from number of replies, there is already progress on multiple fronts. Join us on Slack to participate; announcements here when they’re ready.

Top posts

  1. Aka the ‘And when X…’ game
    – with some background, a new update to our Clean Language-inspired coaching game, 15-minute FOTO
  2. The language of outcomes
    – a series of 5 posts started in January and concluded this month
  3. Better user stories start with authentic situations of need (October 2016)
  4. Stringing it together with Reverse Wardley (February 2019)
  5. From Reverse STATIK to a ‘Pathway’ for continuous transformation (October 2019)

From the exciting intersection of Lean-Agile, Strategy, and Organisation Development, Agendashift™: The wholehearted engagement model
Links: Home | About | Our mission: Wholehearted | Become an Agendashift partner | Assessments | Books | Resources | Events | Contact | MikeSubscribe
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